4 independent reviews for South Africa and Swaziland safari

Reviews for South Africa and Swaziland safari

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review 11 Nov 2019

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing the animals in Kruger national.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Check who else is booked on your tour if you are a solo traveler. I had all German speakers on mine that was very socially isolating.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Not particularly. All accommodation was wonderful but all owned by white South Africans with service provided by black South Africans.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very good on many levels but not being able to join in the tour group chatter did reduce the enjoyment. Great life lesson though.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Katherine, We are pleased that you enjoyed the tour overall. Our groups are made up of clients from around the world and occasionally we have a large part of the travellers coming from one country. I am sorry that you found this to be a bit socially isolating. With regard the accommodation that we source and support on this tour, the South Africa Rainbow Route, the accommodation is varied between Nationally proclaimed parks (such as at Kruger National Park and Addo Elephant National Park) and privately owned by South African local residents. In all of the lodges we use, South Africans are gainfully employed and the funds they receive from our patronage of these lodges flows directly into the local economies in the vicinity of the lodges. For four of the nights during the tour (Kruger National Park, Addo Elephant National Park, Lotheni in Kwazulu Natal Parks) our accommodation and conservation fees are directly paid to the National Parks controlling organisations whom are mandated to employ and develop the local communities which live I the areas surrounding the national parks. For four of the nights (Makuwa Safari Lodge and Zululand Lodge), the accommodation is on two privately owned game reserves. Both of these private reserves are owned by South Africans, and we employ all the staff from the surrounding areas and support local development projects. Zululand Lodge in particular was built from the ground up by Bruce Taylor and myself after we were able to secure original cattle farm land and have spent the last 7 years rehabilitating this land to restore the original habitat, reintroduce wildlife and create a conservancy. The lodge is designed to be off the grid, employs local staff from the region, This is a significant private initiative to develop conservation. 100% of the revenues that goes into these two lodges is spent in conservation, rehabilitation and training. For one night the tour is in eSwatini, the Kingdom of Swaziland, and the lodge we used is owned by residents of eSwatini. For the other nights of the tour the tour is accommodated in privately owned guest houses and lodges. These lodges are all owned by residents of South Africa and employ a variety of staff. Again as part of our selection process for the accommodation we use we insist that small lodges employ their main staff from residents of the area surrounding the lodges. Ensuring that the main benefit from your tour funds are directly flowing into the local communities. Many of the lodges we use have been developed and built from the ground up by their current owners and this investment into the local area when establishing their businesses is hugely beneficial to the economy and the people of South Africa. Tourism has a multiplier effect and the impact our clients have in contributing to the economy canít be overstated Ė perhaps this chain of economic events is not immediately apparent. Sunway Safaris is based in Africa and the founders an directors are South African. We directly employ over 70 staff and source our guides from the entire SADC region. This means as a South African based company with itineraries that cover South Africa, eSwatini, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi, with an operational bases in Johannesburg and in Maun, Botswana, by having local guides and utilizing local suppliers,we are effective at ensuring that the major portion of the tourism funds generated remain in those regions we traverse. We have been supporting the regions we travel in for 25 years.

review 19 Feb 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing the animals in Kruger National Park, so close and so relaxed. Walking in the Tsitiskama National Park along a beach and through woods to reach a lovely waterfall that filled a large pool at the back of the beach and swimming there with no-one else around. The lovely group we travelled with and our fantastic guides.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be prepared to make some really early starts to see the animals in the Game Parks as the sun rises and also in some cases for a long journey as the next leg of the tour unfolds. Also to assist with the preparation and clearing up of meals.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Certainly in a small way it benefitted local people as we bought souvenirs along the way and tipped where ever possible, and bought local firewood for the camp fire. Also in a larger way by bringing money indirectly into the country by booking with a local company. By being a Tourist in the Game Parks, and the Aquarium we should like to think that perhaps indirectly our fees and interest supported Conservation efforts.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

A totally amazing and uplifting experience. A lot of fun, a lot of new things learnt, a new appreciation of another country and it's culture, and new friends made.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Cathy Thank you for your wonderful review. We agree Tsitiskama National Park is a real treat and simply beautiful and we are so pleased you had such a great tour and that you are "reborn" :). We will pass your comments on our "fantastic guides" to CJ and Yvonne, they will be very happy to hear your comments. You certainly did contribute to local people as you have stayed in National Parks and community projects for the majority of the tour. This ensures the funds go directly to the national parks/community project and you are very much supporting conservation. We used local guides (apart from Yvonne and CJ) at Mbonise Culutural Villiage that you visited. Once again, thank you for your wonderful comments and choosing to travel with us and we hope to welcome you back to Southern Africa. Kind regards Jayne Harley Marketing Manager

review 22 Dec 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

We went to some utterly stunning places, purely magical. The tour leaders couldn't have been better- humorous, brimming with knowledge and stories, fantastic chefs...I could go on

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Make the most of every minute :) There're some long days in the truck, so I'd suggest getting up early to walk or run- it's a beautiful time to be up and about.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I think so, our guides made an effort to take us to places where we could buy things where the money would go back into the community rather than to corporates. I also found it charming that the guides always offered any extra food we had to local workers- be they staff in the guest houses at dinner time or guys out on the roads at lunch time.- no waste created, and lots of happy customers :)

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

The guides were utterly brilliant, and made it a very special trip

review 25 Apr 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

I had not expected to enjoy the safari part of my trip as much as I did. I loved seeing the animals in their natural habitat. On day we watched a mother cheetah hunting for her cub - it was thrilling. Everything in South Africa is about Nelson Mandela and I learned more about his life and the struggles of South Africans during the Apartheid era. Cape Town is truly a wonder of the world and the beaches on the Wild Coast were spectacular.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Use your ATM card to change money. Even with the charge by your bank it is much cheaper than the commission charged by the exchange places or banks.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I think our trip benefited one local family. More important was the support for specific animal reserves such as rhinos.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

This was one of the best trips I have ever been on. My travelling companions were great and our guides were fantastic. Meal preparation became a fun event!

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