We at The Safari Source love customizing amazing safaris for our guests – and when we get images and stories from our guests’ adventures, we are thrilled!

Last year we received a request from the Powell family: Canadians Lisa Powell and Kenneth Reimer wanted to go on an African adventure with Lisa’s parents, Joyce and Grant Powell.

The Powells travelled in July and August 2017 – and have sent us the most amazing feedback and images from their adventure. Join us for a sneak peek into their personalized safari adventure!

Duffle bags packed!

The Powells’ trip was planned in tight communication with them, and considering their visions for their trip, we personalized a 30 day adventure including several destinations in Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa.

As their trip included flights in the Okavango Delta with some luggage restrictions (soft bags of specific measurements, without wheels) – they got some practical duffle bags. Then off to the bank to get some currency, and all that was left to say was “Africa here we come!”

South Africa – Power up for the wild!

Simbavati Lodge, Timbavati Reserve – 3 nights

After a night in Johannesburg, the Powells were ready to start their wild adventure. First stop was Simbavati Lodge in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve.

Painted dogs at Simbavati, South Africa.
Lilac-breasted Roller at Simbavati, South Africa.
Family Powell on a game drive at Simbavati, South Africa.
Hyena pups at Simbavati, South Africa.
The game drives at Simbavati start instantly! You mount the game drive vehicle from a raised platform, get a blanket and a hot water bottle to keep you warm and cosy – and there is the first animal to see already! Our guests saw leopard, white rhino, African painted dogs, a hyena with a buffalo kill and even a hyena den with pups!

For lunch a full buffet is served, which the resident warthogs, monkeys and baboons also enjoyed we have been told! The viewing deck and restaurant area are situated beside a waterhole with frequent elephant- and other animal visitors, so entertainment is guaranteed. Every second night there is also a traditional Boma dinner, which the Powells found a great experience!

Leopard at Simbavati, South Africa.
Botswana – Time for some action!

Planet Baobab, Makgadikgadi Pans – 3 nights

Located 2 ½ hours from the airport in Maun – the drive to Planet Baobab was a game drive in itself, as many animals were sighted at the side of the road!

Planet Baobab is located next to a large pond lined with Baobab trees, which are home to a great variety of birds. The rondavel rooms have great character and are attached by open-air walkways. There is also a large outdoor pool. However, the Powells had not come all this way just to slumber in a pool – it was time for some real African action!

Check out their list of activites:

  • Stargazing: overnight stay in sleeping bags on the Nwetwe salt pan
  • Fun ride with ATV’s on the salt pan
  • Visit to a habituated family of meerkats with babies – some of the meerkats even stood on their heads!
  • Cattlepost visit with traditional meal
  • Village tour with local guide
  • Informative nature walk to the neighboring pond

Allthough the sunrise and the sunset on the baobab trees were beautiful, the journey had to go on – Botswana had more in store!

Meerkat at Planet Baoab, Botswana.
Oddballs Camp, Okavango Delta – 2 nights

Oddballs is a fly-in camp so the Powells’ stay began and ended with a scenic bird’s eye view of the water pathways and animals. Arriving they found the camp located on the water edge with beautiful views in all directions.

The highlight of their stay at Oddballs were the serene Mokoro rides – in a traditional wooden Mokoro you are taken over the water through tall reeds.

Tracking elephants and lions on foot was another interesting activity. However, many animals were also experienced in the camp, as the elephants crossed the river in front of the camp, and the hippos put on a show in the evening by spraying and snorting.

After a long day of activities, nothing is better than super delicious food! The Powells were impressed with the food at Oddballs, especially the fresh warm bread coming straight from the oven…

Powells on a mokoro ride at Oddballs, Botswana.
Khwai Guest House, Moremi Game Reserve – 3 nights

The Powells arrived in Khwai by a low flying scenic flight where they spotted many animals. They even saw a lion walking from this flight – their first lion sighting!

It would not be the last lion… On their game drives at Khwai Guest House they made these amazing lion images, and also spotted a leopard and a cub, hippos, a newborn giraffe, crocodiles, Tsessebe antelope and elephants. Khwai also has a rich bird life – the Lilac-breasted Roller became their favourite…

When the smell of toast and steaks cooking over the campfire filled the camp and the staff sang “Come to dinner”, dinner was served at one large dining table, followed by campfire stories into the night…

Lion in Khwai, Botswana.
Lion in Khwai, Botswana.
Hippos in Khwai, Botswana.
Chobe Bakwena Lodge, Chobe National Park – 3 nights

Greeted with singing, cheering, hot towels and personalized notes on their pillows, our guests arrived Chobe Bakwena Lodge – the attention to detail in this lodge grasped the Powells from the first moment!

The animals also did not disappoint, they were more abundant here than in any other park they visited. Among the sightings were a leopard posing in a tree, adolescent giraffes mock fighting with their horns, antelopes and even lions with a giraffe kill!

As most camps, Chobe Bakwena Lodge offers two game drives per day: one in the AM and one in the PM – but in the evening you can also choose a Chobe River Cruise instead. The river cruise allowed the Powells a great viewing vantage of buffalo, crocodile, elephants, and a large variety of birdlife – and an amazing sunset over the water!

A drum call to a traditional Boma Dinner, with dancing and traditional food, completed the Botswanan adventure – as it was now time to head for Zimbabwe!

Leopard in Chobe, Botswana.
Lion with giraffe kill in Chobe, Botswana.
Zimbabwe – The Falls and the endless elephants!

N1 Hotel, Victoria Falls – 4 nights

After many early morning game drives, KAZA Univisa in hand, it was time for some later mornings and the soothing spray of the Victoria Falls.

The N1 hotel is nicely located with a short distance to the main shopping- and restaurant areas, and provided the Powells with a nice base for exploring the town of Victoria Falls and do some souvenir shopping.

A visit to the Falls is always impressive! Our explorers walked the gorge’s edge path from end to end, stopping at each of the viewpoints and were amazed by the forest vegetation along the path.

Powells at the Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
Miambo Lodge, Hwange National Park – 3 nights

Time to head for the bush again! No need to skip the luxury in the bush though, the Miambo Lodge provides large individual luxury tents on raised platforms, with outdoor showers and private decks overlooking a waterhole.

In Hwange National Park the Powells were treated with sightings of large herds of elephants drinking at the waterholes, as well as the rare roan and sable antelope, and a large pride of 13 lions!

After a hearty dinner and campfire stories, you get a “bush baby” (hot water bottle) to keep you warm and cozy at night, and if lucky, like our guests were, you are treated to a nighttime view of a bachelor herd of elephants at the waterhole!

Elephants in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe.
Big Cave Camp, Matopos National Park – 3 nights

Arriving in Matopos National Park, the astounding scenery impressed the Powells. The Big Cave Camp is set right at the top of a boulder hill. The reception, restaurant and lounge areas are all nestled amongst the natural boulders so the rocks form part of the walls. The private cabins’ decks overlook the valley and hillsides of beautiful rock scenery – and even allows for sunrises seen from bed…

There is ancient cave art right on site and the resident rock hyrexes and rainbow coloured lizards provide further entertainment!

Powells on a rhino walk in Matopos National Park, Zimbabwe.
Rock formations in Matopos National Park, Zimbabwe.
A variety of activities are offered at Big Cave, here are the ones our guests chose:

  • tracking White Rhinos (they told us this was their absolute favorite activity)
  • exploring the national park & seeing ancient cave paintings
  • visit Cecil Rhodes grave at the top of the “World’s View” with an amazing sunset
  • an educational drive through a traditional village

Every evening a delicious dinner was served at a community table, with all guests, guides, and the manager. We are sure that the Powells had quite some stories to tell around that table before heading home!

Many thanks to the Powells for sending us such a detailed account of their adventure, and also providing some of their safari images to accompany this blog post!

Thinking of a tailor made safari? If you would like us to plan YOUR dream safari, feel free to fill out our contact form with your dream safari contents, and we will cook it up for you! You can find our contact form here!

All images © Powell Family