I have been booking with DialAFlight for many years. Ian is the best
Amy was so helpful. I was in a state booking a ticket in a family emergency. She made sure I got the best deal and helped by changing my ticket so that I could get to my family as quickly as possible.
Family crisis. Very effective in an emergency. Thanks to your team for advice.
Thank you for ALL your help in booking my flight to Johannesburg. I'll be in touch for my next trip.
Service and personal manner of Oli and other sales staff was really touching and just brilliant.
Competitive flights package with usual top quality service
Everything went really well.Thank you.
Everything was great. Just not very impressed with British Airways. Prefer to fly with Virgin.
Wonderful trip to Johannesburg, Namibia, Franschhoek and Cape Town. Thanks to Kelly
A very professional company with seemingly well versed and educated staff. Really consultative without the usual drama
Very good service, thank you.
Mant thanks for your help.
Great service. Our agent whom we booked through remained available to answer questions, assist and adjust booking requirements throughout the whole process.
A first class service as always going above and beyond!
Thank you to DialAFlight, especially my consultant Leo, for being for so kind, patient and explaining everything. The follow up calls towards the departure date were also very reassuring
Turkish Airlines are OK but transferring through their new Istanbul airport is a real pain. It is vast and takes a very long walk and time to transfer.
Excellent flights, efficient booking - feel very confident booking with DialAFlight.
Spencer and Matthew really helpful. I couldn't print boarding cards so they did these for me and scanned them to me. Your staff are brilliant - really helpful and nothing too much trouble.
Always get good service from DialAFlight
Thank you so much for organising our trip, it was fantastic!
Billy was first class
As always with DialAFlight, everything went according to plan. Virgin premium economy very worthwhile. Thanks to Ian and your team for a great trip!
Very helpful once again. All went smoothly
The food on the return flight was abysmal considering being in premium economy.
Get BA to rethink their meal times on the return from Durban. They served breakfast about 08.00 but no lunch until 17.30. Awful long time between meals on a daytime flight
Lily has been great in organising our last few trips. We will be back in touch with her again for our next adventure for sure.
Scott was amazing. Have already recommended him to a friend for flights to SA and Zimbabwe
Everything always goes smooothly.
Once again Helen provided exceptional help and advice. Arrangements worked perfectly.
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.