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Nancy and Paul Haugsjaa

How would you rate your trip overall? Excellent
Comment: Both Paul and I thoroughly enjoyed this trip.  We found the people of Africa that we had a chance to meet to be warm and wise.  We had some good conversations about apartheid, life in their countries, and their perspectives on lots of issues. It was such a wonderful experience to be out and watch the animals right next to us…..sometimes near enough to touch….so very different from the wilderness areas in our country.  it was truly magnificent.
What was the most important reason for choosing AFRICAN PORTFOLIO? Expertise
Comment: Really appreciated Anouk.  She had great advice when we had questions and we felt like she was listening to us when we indicated our interests, and really tried to make sure we had experiences that fit our wishes.  Also, she kept in contact with us and answered immediately when we had questions.  Others didn’t always do this.
How many safari companies did you consider before selecting AFRICAN PORTFOLIO? Three or Four
How would you rate AFRICAN PORTFOLIO’S representatives in Africa?
  Excellent Very Good Average Poor
South Africa
Comment: We were impressed by how smoothly all of our transfers went….especially moving from one country to another, for instance, Botswana to Zimbabwe…bush plane, then to a van, then going through customs and getting a visa and changing driver….went smoothly as could be, as did all of our transfers.   Tim, our guide in South Africa was also very knowledgeable, on time, and clearly enjoyed his job.
What additional information (if any) would you have liked to receive prior to your departure from home? The pre-paid meal arrangements at the the Safari Lodge in Vic Falls were at first confusing….We arrived in the early afternoon, and understood we had one lunch and since we hadn’t really eaten since breakfast, we had a hearty lunch at about 3….Then went on the Sunset Cruise which, unknown to us, also provided tons of food as part of the deal, so we were completely stuffed and unable to eat dinner….could have saved that lunch for the next day….Not a serious deal, but would have been nice to know….
How would you describe your accommodation, facilities and meals? Please provide the name of the hotel, lodge or camp you are describing. More Quarters:  Super!  Great breakfasts….nice folks serving.
Machaba:  Loved it all.  Shaun and Elke were great…Paul and I had a big two bedroom tent (we just used the one side, of course) just because they had it available I guess…great bathroom, very comfy beds, lovely meals….
Vic Falls Safari Lodge:  Food delicious….room very nice….watering hole very fun to have right out there…The Vultures were interesting.  Didn’t know what to expect!
Tanda Tula:  Again, super…Lovely tents and bathrooms…Liked the pool in the center of the camp…enjoyed hanging out there between safaris
What and where was your favorite meal of the trip? Can’t say ONE…
Love Breakfasts, and the bush breakfasts at Tanda Tula were so good and fun.  Machaba had wonderful safari breaks with rugs and pillows and cushions and great food….also their tea times out in front of the camp by the delta were lovely…The big fancy gourmet dinners were also special, but I think I liked the smaller “surprise” little “meals” best.
Also, at Tim’s suggestion went to Miller’s Thumb in Cape Town…got there too early like us Americans are wont to do so we sat out on their porch, and the owner came out and refused to let us sit out in the “cold” and so sweetly pulled us in about 1/2 hour early…great food too!
How would you evaluate your safari guides and staff? Please provide the name of the person you are describing. Machaba:  We all decided Shaun was amazing…he had a knack for staying “just a little longer” because he knew, for instance, there was a leopard somewhere in the dense woods, watching the wild dogs feasting on an impala, and once they left, the leopard would appear…so we believed him and must have watched for 45 minutes (the wild dogs were fascinating enough) and sure enough, almost every other truck left, and only two trucks actually saw the dogs leave and 2 leopard come out and continue feasting on the impala. Things like that.  Also, he was full of fascinating info….
Tanda Tula: Also loved Civ:  They (he had a tracker) found the rhino for us finally…also cheetah, another pack of wild dogs, fabulous leopards.  Between the two camps we saw the Big 5, cheetah, wild dogs (Now the big 7, huh?) somewhere around 25-27 different animals, not to mention the birds….
Was there anything you would have liked more of, less of, or done differently? We liked the balance of being in Cape Town for 2 days; just right for us, then safari in the Okavango, then a break at Vic Falls, then another safari in a different eco-environment.
I had assumed we might visit some of the museums in Cape Town (District 6, Slave Museum) or the Cathedral….but we did see a ton…I suppose time was an issue…Kirstenbosch was beautiful, the penguins so cute, and one HAS to go up Table MT…So really no complaints…. The Boma meal turned out to be a bit too touristy for us and pretty crowded and noisy….food was good.  I had looked it up online before we went and decided we should give it a try, so that’s just my eval after the fact.  Did need the occasional “down time”….fun to have the chance to shop at the market in Vic Falls.
What was your most memorable moment in Africa? Moments…plural….the animals, always the animals….so breathtaking….The occasional “drama” was fun…15 puppy wild dogs lined up in front of a Mom warthog and her baby ready to go after them but the Mama would snort and they would scatter….  Also at Tanda Tula when a herd of Cape buffalo were pounced on and divided by lions….the buffalo reunited themselves and in the  end, after some  tense moments, all were safe….
If you could give future travelers one word of advice, what would it be? Visit with and/or get to know the people around you, the staff you interact with, folks selling to you in shops,  and other visitors….Sat next to Elke one evening for dinner at Machaba and what an interesting life and stories she had to tell….Also met Dolphin, Civ’s wife and the “money manager” at Tanda Tula…noticed at the performance that she was the director and lead singer of the Tanda Tula chorus, so had much fun hearing her stories about how she grew up and the impact of music on her life….

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