I guess that is as good a way to start as any.
It is hard to put into words the feeling of two male lions roaring to announce their presence 20 meters from you or watching a group of hyena feed on an elephant carcass or watching 50 elephants swim across the Zambezi river. On our very first drive in Sabi Sands, we literally saw every animal on the list, and I thought “what on earth are we going to do for the next 18 days”. Well, not a drive or walk or river safari passed without us experiencing these creatures doing something amazing – to them, it is just living, but the privilege of witnessing this up close was unbelievable.
Lisle picked Africa as the destination to mark his 60th birthday, and Danni and the Sikeleli team turned the idea into a month-long adventure worthy of the celebration – 6 camps across South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana over 18 days, a stop at Victoria Falls, 5 days in Cape Town and a wonderful respite in wine country.
From the second we stepped off the plane in Johannesburg, it was clear every detail was taken care of. We were welcomed, escorted, transferred, flown, and driven across three countries without a hiccup, pause, question or confusion. With the logistics taken care of we were free to relish the experience.
And what an experience. We had worked long and hard over a period of 3 months with Danni – by email and WhatsApp calls – to understand the possibilities and narrow down our choices to provide a unique experience in each location. Danni’s expertise was invaluable and her patience with our questions and decision-making greatly appreciated. In the end we selected 6 locations, each known for a different safari experience.
The ‘camps’ were as varied as the locations – from permanent air-conditioned structures to expedition tents with bucket showers, but all had comfort, hospitality, amazing food, exceptional guides and a true desire for every guest to have an amazing experience. Because they were so different, it is difficult to pick a favorite, but Somalisa Camp in Hwange, Zimbabwe is it. The setting is unbelievable, the accommodations luxurious, the food delicious and the staff the most genuine, experienced, knowledgeable and welcoming that we experienced. They are part of African Bush Camps, and that group deserves a shout-out. We stayed at 3 of their properties – each very different from the other – and they have a formula that focuses on the guests and their experience, which is executed flawlessly by staff!
Our time in Cape Town and wine country was equally enriching and relaxing – a great way to return to civilization after 3 weeks in the bush! The great folks at Capexec provided exceptional transfers and tours, and Seafive Boutique Hotel was the perfect place to stay.
What became clear to us over our travels was that Sikeleli Safaris and Danni in particular was not just another tour packager. They were known by almost every camp, tour and transfer provider, like part of an extended family. And they treat you like family. Danni emailed while we were traveling to make sure things were good, called while we were in Cape Town and arranged for her colleague to connect with us over coffee (she was unfortunately traveling herself). We travel a great deal and finding someone in the travel business who is truly interested in you and your experience and does so by adding a personal touch and connection to the entire process, is truly unique.
This was our first safari experience, but it definitely will not be our last, and I can’t imagine using anyone but Sikeleli Safaris for our next adventure. Danni and her group have already been recommended to our friends, family and business contacts.