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Game Drives And The Big Five

Clare Ruffell, Assistant Manager of our Bournemouth travel agents in store at Beales, took a walk on the wild side when she toured South Africa. Her trip included game drives in the Massai Mara Game Reserve and some time at the jaw-dropping Victoria Falls. Here’s a closer look at what she got up to.

Destination: Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa
Operator/Host:
Saga
Accommodation
(Hotel names/Ship name):
Sarova Mara Tented Camp; Sarova Lion Hill Lodge; Crowne Plaza Nairobi airport hotel; Avani Hotel, Victoria Falls; Royal Livingstone, Victoria Falls, Table Bay Hotel, Cape Town
Airline: Kenyan Airways
Duration: 10 days

Flight

We experience many different flights during the trip including from Heathrow to Nairobi and back on board a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. On each leg of the journey, besides the short hop from Cape Town to Nairobi, which was operated on an older 737, we had our own TV screens, good legroom and a personal USB port. The food on all of the flights was very good with a choice of menu offered.

Accommodation

Masaai Mara Elephants

Sarova Mara Tented Camp 5-Star

This accommodation is on the Massai Mara game reserve and is protected by an electric fence to stop the wildlife from getting in. The restaurant is buffet style and has plenty of choice to suit everyone.  The tents are luxurious with a full bathroom connected to them. It has a lovely outdoor pool for guests to cool off in after the long game drives and they also have a small spa.

Sarova Lion Hill Lodge 5-Star

Located on Lake Nakuru, the property has chalets overlooking the lake so you can see hippos, flamingos and other wildlife from the veranda. This camp also has an electric fence around it to keep animals out. The restaurant is the same as the Savora Mara. They have an outdoor pool and a small spa.

Crowne Plaza Nairobi 5-Star

This hotel is three minutes from the airport and is in the most protected area in Nairobi, so you feel very safe. The rooms are huge and the hotel has many facilities, including a fitness centre and even an outdoor pool. It is the nicest airport hotel I have stayed in.

Avani Victoria Falls Resort 4-Star

This resort is 5 minutes’ walk from Victoria Falls on the Zambian side and has complimentary unlimited access to this beautiful natural wonder. It is on the Zambezi River in the Mosi-Oa Tunya National Park. At this hotel, there are animals roaming around the grounds, including Zebras, giraffes and baboons, but they do have plenty of guards to stop them going too close to the guests. The rooms are quite small but adequate and the focal point is the large pool in the middle of the resort where they have music playing in the evening. The restaurant is a very good buffet with plenty of choice.

Royal Livingstone Hotel 5-Star

Victoria Falls

This hotel is also five minutes from Victoria Falls on the Zambian side and has complimentary, unlimited access to the falls. It is part of the same group as the Avani and has the wildlife roaming the grounds. The rooms are very large and grand. It has the same setting on the Zambezi River, but I preferred the more relaxed feeling of the Avani.

Table Bay Hotel, Cape Town 5-Star

This was my favourite hotel that we saw and certainly has the wow factor! It is located on the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in the most prime position in Cape Town. The hotel has its own access to a large shopping mall and all of the rooms have views of either Table Mountain or the Atlantic Ocean. The rooms are huge and very luxurious. The buffet breakfast is meant to be one of the best in the area. There are lots of restaurants in the area and I felt safe walking along the waterfront here.

What Was Included?

Franschloek
  • Game drives in the Masai Mara National Reserve
  • Visit to a Masai village
  • Game drives at Lake Nakuru
  • Boat ride on Lake Naivasha
  • Visit and lunch on Livingstone Island to see the falls and swim in the Devil’s Pool
  • Visit to the Royal Livingstone Express
  • Visit to the Elephant Cafe with Elephant interaction
  • Sunset cruise on the Zambezi River
  • Visit to Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side
  • Visit to Boulders Beach near Cape Town to see the penguins
  • Cable car ride up to the top of Table Mountain
  • Visit to the Rickety Bridge Winery in Franschhoek
  • Visit to village of Franschhoek
  • Visit to Stellenbosch

Trip Highlights

The game drives in the Masai Mara Game Reserve were my favourite part of the trip. Getting to see the big five (elephants, leopards, lions, rhinoceros and buffalo) as well as cheetahs, hyenas and many other animals up close was amazing. The landscapes of this area are so beautiful; it was a trip of a lifetime with breathtaking nature and stunning sunsets.

Recommendations

I would definitely recommend this to my clients as it was such an unforgettable experience. Saga has just launched a new itinerary called the Icons of Africa which covers most of the areas we visited.

Top tip: Take a torch at night, as it is pitch black and there are animals roaming the grounds!

Must see? Victoria Falls
Must do?
Elephant interaction at the Elephant Cafe
Must try? Swimming in Devil’s Pool at Victoria Falls

If you would like help planning your unforgettable safari, the team at Fred. Olsen Travel Agents will be more than happy to help. Drop into your local branch and see how trips like this help us to give practical advice and recommendations. We have travel agents in Dorset, Hampshire, Suffolk, Nor