The only complaint I have is with BA the flight to Cape Town was 2 hours late, in flight films not working properly and very poor service on board and coming back they ran out of cooked breakfast so not impressed. DialAFlight as usual delivered a high quality service so many thanks.
The service from DialAFlight was superb as usual, however KLM let us down badly by cancelling our first flight 40 mins before takeoff, which meant we missed our connecting flight to SA and had to be re-booked on a different airline.
Only suggestion is that next we fly to Cape Town we'll go direct rather than transfer through Jo'Burg as Virgin out of LHR was delayed on take off by an hour because of de-icing. And with the delays at Jo'Burg immigration it was very tight to catch the connecting flight!
All promptly and professionally handled as usual. No hitches and I left knowing that every last detail had been sorted for me.
Knowing that DialAFlight are there for me should any problems occur is worth its weight in gold. You have come to my rescue before, and for that I will be eternally grateful, and so highly recommend your services for the peace of mind it gives.
Our requests and needs were promptly addressed and met. Thank you Marshall.
Excellent service as always. Jackson went above and beyond with his customer service excellence.
Dexter did a really good and caring job for me.
Great service with excellent after sales personal service.
I was immensely grateful for some very speedy help in changing a flight - especially from halfway round the world. And on a Sunday!
Used you three times now.
Staff helpful, approachable and easy to contact.
Courteous and helpful throughout. Will use them again.
Really helpful staff and clear paperwork
Reid was creative in finding the flight and responded quickly when asked about a change. Overall excellent work.
We just want to say thank you to William, Neil and all the team who've never, in all the years we've been dealing with them, let us down.
I requested several different quotes for different places as I changed my mind on a destination. Each request was provided in a most helpful, courteous, and complete manner. Full marks!
Britz car rentals are the only company to have their large logo on the side of vehicles in SA. This advertises that you are a tourist and attracts people like bees to a honeypot. The service was excellent but something to be aware of.
Debbie you’ve done it yet again, thank you
Thank you so much again for a terrific experience. Sophie, Helen and Tyler for all of their constant professionalism, kindness and care. Love you guys.
Hadn’t thought of using an airline from Gatwick. Your suggestion to use Thomas Cook was great. Comfortable seats with reasonable space and well trained staff. A very good recommendation, thank you for your help.
Compliments to Edward for his helpfulness in what could have been an awkward glitch in our arrangements.
All communication and customer services were excellent, will definitely use again.
Everything went smoothly, as usual
Wonderful trip both ways. Will definitely book with you again for my trip in Aug/Sept this year. I liked the way I was kept updated re boarding gates /schedules
It is always a pleasure to deal with you. Everyone is always so friendly and helpful and you always get me the best deal. I feel very confident that everything will go to plan when it’s been arranged by you and I wouldn’t use anyone else.
From booking my flight and right up to my departure date you guys were brilliant. A massive thank you to Danny who always give me excellent service. Will be back to book my next holiday with you soon.
Thanks Zac. As always you were great.
I am very glad I spoke to Shelley - she ensured my flight was fabulous AND affordable!
Liked the personal touch and excellent customer service, thanks
A hand-written card has been left on the table in our room. It urges us to 'pause, listen, smell, taste, feel and see' while staying at Singita Ebony Lodge in South Africa.
Whoever wrote the note could easily have added: learn.
Because for all the game drives, sumptuous late breakfasts, sundowners in the bush, brandies by the pool, massages in the spa, a safari is a crash-course in animal welfare, a tutorial into the workings of nature. At least it is in the Sabi Sands Reserve near the Mozambique border, where Singita covers 18,000 acres.
Even the daftest of questions from the back of the Jeep are taken seriously. My ignorance knows no bounds, but our guide, Andries, and his spotter companion, Martin, never make you feel a dunce.
And I pick up a few nuggets along the way: impalas are born with 90 per cent of their brains fully formed, giving them a sporting chance of surviving into adulthood; lions see in black and white (which must be infuriating for zebras); two-thirds of a termite mound is underground; giraffes have hearts the size of footballs; elephants flap their ears for ventilation.
BATTLE FOR SURVIVAL
But the most important thing I learn is that it's brutal out there. It may be a bewitching landscape as the sun rises and falls on the greatest show on earth – but it's also one big battle for survival.
You feel the tension everywhere, as the tails of the buffalo twirl furiously when danger lurks and a female elephant hurriedly scrunches through scrub. You see it as vultures perch on a branch ready to cash in on a kill.
The fear of death is omni-present. Survival of the fittest is not an evolutionary theory but a day-to-day reality, where one lapse in concentration, one misguided stop at a watering hole and you're finished.
I can see why honeymooners are drawn to safaris. A few days in the bush sets you up nicely for a partnership in marriage. The habits of males and females are often at odds, but they need to get on. You have to be patient, too - and it's so primal that passion is never far away.
Singita's story began in 1925 when James Baines bought land in what would later become the Sabi Sands Reserve. It started as a hunting opportunity, but today it's all about protecting the bush. His grandson, Luke Baines, now runs lodges and camps across five African countries and is regarded as one of the great protectors of the wild.
He's also practical. Realising that the reason poachers kill animals is to make money, he encouraged them to become gamekeepers instead, and it seems to have worked. Most of his 120 or so scouts are former poachers.
'If they started protecting the animals rather than killing them, then tourism would flourish and they could have jobs for the long term,' says Luke. 'The success has been remarkable.'
Certainly, his lodges are remarkable. Singita Ebony Lodge and nearby Singita Boulders have just been refurbished and must be two of the most stylish and yet authentic safari lodges in the world.
With their soaring thatched roofs held aloft by a combination of trees and wooden posts, the main lobby, bar and restaurant areas look out over a river and mile upon mile of bush beyond, as do almost all 12 suites in each lodge.
OUT OF AFRICA
You get your own little pool, four-poster bed, outside shower, freestanding bath, a watercolour paint palette, fabulous food and drink (it's all inclusive so you don't have to sign for anything) and a licence to imagine you're Robert Redford and Meryl Streep on the set of Out Of Africa.
On our first 6am game drive we come across a pride of 12 lions lounging by a watering hole occupied by a hippo.
Andries assures us that the lions are not hungry – which is comforting because by the time he turns off the engine we are a mere 10 yards from them. Occasionally one of the lions stands up and looks at us intently before flopping back down on the baked ground much in the same way as a dog might spread itself out by the fire at home.
We get up close and personal with rhinos, elephants, giraffes, hyenas, water hogs, antelope, eagles – and closer than I could ever have imagined to a leopard.
But not just any leopard. Andries remembers Nhlhbankunzi - as she has been named - as a cub and now she's a mother herself, out looking for food for her charge. She's regal and ravishing in equal measure, treating the rough terrain like a catwalk, moving elegantly, seductively.
They say nothing prepares you for the moment you see your first lion or leopard in the wild – and they're right.