Could not do enough for me - excellent customer service. Highly recommend.
As always, very helpful. Well done, particularly when there was a 'long distance' problem due to coronavirus.
Robert was absolutely excellent, not fazed even when we emailed him from the Maasai Mara!
The hotel was undergoing building works which meant loud noise right by the pool. Otherwise a lovely time had. Thank you very much
You all have the same calm, helpful attitude whoever I speak to. Thank you for all your patience
Cameron was a great help
Do please continue to emphasise to travellers to carefully review COVID requirements before travelling. A number of folks were barred from boarding and so missed their flights because they had not filled out their passenger locator forms or booked their day 2 tests!
We altered our booking twice to extend our long awaited trip. Jerry as always was fabulous.
Courteous and friendly staff made things work better. Just continue to do what you do best.
A very satisfied customer
Service was good throughout.
Very good customer service. I will definitely use again
A trouble free way of booking a holiday. Worst problem dealing with Covid tests and relevant paperwork which is stressful
Many thanks foe the just concluded holidays to Zimbabwe & South Africa. We wouldn't have done it without Isaac and your team.
I've been a loyal customer for some time and the service I have received from Luke is exceptional. My cousin who booked recently on my recommendation was amazed with the level of professionalism combined with efficiency so Luke you've won another loyal customer. Several more are on the way!
Well informed pre-travel expectations were well explained otherwise it would have been a nightmare to be turned back at the airport for failure to complete all forms
Complaints and querries well covered
Samuel has yet again made my holidays stress free - he communicated well, kept me informed and answered any questions. It's because of his honesty, reliability and professionalism that I book with you.
We can’t thank you enough for the excellence of your service, your availability, willingness to check out possible changes due to Covid and overall professional high level of efficiency. The way staff cover for each other is brilliant.
I like the way you communicate with me all the way
It was tricky working my flights around covid and Aidan was so helpful.
The hotel, which was my choice, was the worst. Just a heads up for future client bookings
William is awesome.
Excellent service and help as usual. Will definitely recommend.
Thank you for your amazing service Jordan over many years. Your patience has to be recognised. I was so worried about flying but you put my mind at ease. It was good that I travelled to South Africa - with all the unrest at the moment.
I would not have managed without Roy and thank him very much for all he did to get me there and back!
Isla and her team are amazing. I recommend them to everyone. Thanks again for such a professional service
Thank you once again Isaac. Everything went very well and as usual your care was appreciated.
Very friendly and efficient. Helped with a change of date and gave loads of additional information. Can’t thank them enough
Good customer service
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.
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