Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

While I often plan trips myself, I can highly recommend arranging a trip like this through an expert
Nancy Megehee | April 3, 2023

Beautiful Southern Africa for our 30th Wedding Anniversary

It was deep in the dark days of the pandemic, trapped in our townhome, that I began to dream of traveling again in the future. Our 30th wedding anniversary was coming up in a little over a year, so going down my bucket list I landed on an African safari as the perfect way to celebrate. My husband on board, I reached out to Wendy Perrin in January of 2022, who referred us to Julian Harrison and his trusty sidekick Lisa Cara. From our first call, Julian put me at ease with his expert knowledge on African safaris and I knew I was working with the exact right person. We spoke about our goals for the trip, he made great suggestions, and within a few days I had an itinerary. Double-checking on the accommodations – all very well reviewed – and validating the plan, we were in!!

Julian and Lisa took great care of us during the year we waited to head out, answering all our questions promptly. They booked local flights, provided advice on luggage for the safari planes, made suggestions for restaurants in Cape Town, guided us on what to expect regarding tipping, etc.

We’ve just returned from this spectacular trip. Four days in Cape Town visiting Table Mountain, Boulders Beach, the Cape of Good Hope, the Victoria & Alfred waterfront, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and of course the Winelands, along with a fantastic lunch at Glen Carlou; two nights at Victoria Falls in the lovely Old Drift Lodge; and 6 nights in Botswana: 2 nights in Savute, 2 nights in Camp Moremi, and 2 nights in Shinde. Fabulous. All the accommodations were outstanding, and the transport between camps was flawless. At each stop we were made to feel so special, with an incredible “sundowner” experience at Old Drift, along with cakes and celebrations at each safari camp for our anniversary. It was clear that Julian and team had taken exceptional effort to ensure all the camps were aware of our special event, which was a wonderful surprise that we really appreciated.

For anyone like me not familiar with safari travel – everything at the camps is included: food, drinks, activities. Think of a very small cruise ship on land. To me, this is a very cost-effective way to experience luxury travel. Plus, two weeks later, eating healthy food and staying active, I came home feeling better than ever (despite terrible allergies that started in the bush – take your meds!!) and would absolutely love to do another trip to other areas in Africa in this same manner.

This complicated trip was made so easy! We had the flexibility to choose our own restaurants in Cape Town yet were expertly navigated to the best attractions by our own personal guide, Jacqui Van Rensburg, who was such a joy with whom to work. We were met at each airport and guided through the processes for entry in Zimbabwe and Botswana. All the arrangements for safari plane movements between camps worked perfectly. While I often plan trips myself, I can highly recommend arranging a trip like this through an expert. Julian’s services took all the stress out and we were left with nothing but fantastic fun and great memories. Thank you to Wendy, Julian, and Lisa for making this a dream trip – one of more we hope to arrange with you.

He defined the differences between a safari in South Africa and Botswana and also described my various lodging options
Joanne Fisher | March 29, 2023

Two-week safari to Botswana plus one day in Johannesburg and four days in Cape Town. March 10-25, 2023

It has always been my dream to go on safari, and when I finally had the opportunity, I wanted to make sure that I booked with the right professional. Julian Harrison spent two separate phone calls with me answering all of my questions and allaying my fears about medical help should I become ill while in Botswana. He defined the differences between a safari in South Africa and Botswana and also described my various lodging options. The trip he put together far exceeded my expectations. Not only were the lodges luxurious and comfortable, but the staff who work there are beyond warm and accommodating. Per Julian‘s suggestion, we went to three different lodges in three different parts of Botswana, and saw many different types of wildlife, flora, and water life as a result. His suggestion to fly into Johannesburg and out of Cape Town was also excellent. We spent the last four days touring and doing some shopping that we could not have done if we had gone to Cape Town first, due to luggage limitations on bush planes. Last but not least, Julian and his team accommodated a last-minute travel change when my friend and travel partner became ill and could not accompany me. Julian and his team were gracious and accommodating about substituting in my son at the last minute and helped my friend with her insurance claims. All in all, a fantastic experience I will never forget.

I saw a lot of wildlife and the camps were terrific
Gurminder Bedi | February 7, 2023

The trip planning and logistics were great. So terrific that I am redoing it 6 months later, because my daughter caught Covid and could not go. I saw a lot of wildlife and the camps were terrific.

I’d do it all over again. Same itinerary, same places to stay.
Michael Modak | January 21, 2023

My wife and I just completed our first trip booked with the help of Wendy. We were referred to Julian Harrison, who was able to translate a loose idea of what we wanted to do to a very robust 30-day trip and steer us towards a great set of game camps and adventures. We’ve never had a vacation this long and were a bit concerned over the length, the number of flights, transfers, locations, logistics, etc., but it went off without a hitch. I hope this won’t be boring, but will comment on the various places we visited and the highlights.

Rattray’s at Mala Mala Game Reserve in South Africa

• Incredible game drives with Melanie at the wheel. Great diversity of animals.
• Very “Old British” feel to the entire site – rooms had great view of the Sand River.
• Granola was so good, we were grateful to have left with two coffee cups full of it that we tried to make last as long as we could – did not do a very good job of that.

One & Only in Cape Town

• Great location to waterfront – loved the Watershed shopping area – all products from African artisans.
• Winery visit highlight was lunch at Delaire Graff – spectacular views of the vinyards and wines and food to kill for. Became an instant lover of the Pinotage variety. Franschhoek was a delightful city to walk and visit galleries.
• The standard sights of Cape Point, Cape of Good Hope, the seals at Simon’s Town, and the botanical garden were terrific.
• Best surprise was a quintet at brunch on Christmas Day singing Christmas carols (the oldies that boomers like me grew up with).
• The downside of the city was that it felt necessary to be vigilant for personal safety. Would have liked to have felt more comfortable to explore the city by walking around.

Rovos Rail from Cape Town to Pretoria (actually one stop short of Pretoria)

• Luxury from the minute we stepped into the lounge at the railway station. A real step into the past. Would enjoy taking even longer routes with them and also try the Orient Express. Rail travel is very relaxing.
• Servers were very good at wine pairings with dinners – usually a wine with each of 3 courses, all very good South African varieties.
• The trip really highlighted the challenges faced by the country. Train would come to a complete stop frequently for a number of reasons, including challenges with electricity – either not enough juice to handle two trains close to each other or no electricity because the cables were stolen and had yet to be replaced. Luckily the train had two engines – electric and diesel. That’s why we stopped short of Pretoria, as they are reinstalling the cable.

Hoanib Skeleton Cost in Namibia

• This was our first taste of five Wilderness camps on this trip, all of which were amazing. Really in the middle of the desert on a river bed that is dry most of the year. Wonderful musical greeting by the camp team upon arrival.
• Adaptation of the animals to the desert was fascinating, though they all were a bit skinnier than their cousins at the more lush environments like Zimbabwe and Botswana and South Africa.
• Ben was a terrific guide – had a focus on the smaller creatures like beetles and geckos as well as the usual suspects.
• The drive to the coast to see the seals, despite the bumpy drive (African massage) took us through green areas to dunes to an oasis. It’s hard to imagine a stretch of 4 km of shoreline packed with seals, but that’s the story. After a nice lunch on the beach, a 10-minute flight back was welcome versus reversing the 4-hour drive. It was fascinating to see the terrain we had driven through.

Serra Cafema – Namibia

• Tucked along the Kunene River, a nine iron across to Angola, the area was mountain/desert/dunes. Much more mountainous than Hoanib. Some challenges going up over the dunes, but after several tries, we made it over.
• Not much wildlife in the Hartmann Valley, as it has not rained there for years.
• Visit to the Himba village was quite an experience. A German couple who was at the camp brought along balloons that were magical to the children.

Little Kulala – Namibia

• I was really looking forward to this stop, as the way the rooms were set up relative to the dunes (from looking at Google maps) suggest a great view, and the remoteness and weather suggested a night sky that was to die for. Two problems – we got there at a full moon (bad planning) and were given a room that did not have the view. We could not fix the moon bit, but we were moved (after expressing great disappointment) to one of the rooms with a view. Suggest strongly that if you plan to stay there you make your room wishes very clear. This was the only issue we had with any of the Wilderness camps.
• The dunes at sunrise are a must to see, and if you are more adventurous than we are, to climb.
• Highlight was using the outside bed to sleep under the stars. The coolness was overcome by very warm bedding and breathing the crisp air was great.

Old Drift Lodge – Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

• Such a change from the desert. Area is deep with greenery and full of animals. Elephants decided to come by our unit and drink from our plunge pool. I guess they really like clean, chlorinated water. The elephants stole the show at this location as they were very active at the beach, sparring with each other, and generally keeping an eye on us.
• At this time of year the falls are not at full flow, but I would have not known that if I were not told. In fact, it’s said to be better as it can be impossible to see through the mist during those times. The view up the gorge from the Lookout Café is a must, for the beauty and the zip lines and bungee jumpers.
• A river cruise at sunset was a highlight with glorious African skies and the serenading of a pod of hippos.

Vumbura Plains – Okavango Delta Botswana

• The units face the east and the sunrises are unlike anything I’d seen before. And the design of the units are essentially a single large room with a shower surrounded by a translucent picture of the grasses native to the area. The morning sun lights up that screen in a beautiful way. In another section is a sunken seating area with unobstructed views to the grasslands/swamp.
• Our driver was “Big O” and he lived up to the name both physically and in his personality. The land drives were great, but I’d steer you to the water areas. One morning we took a ride in the mokoro boats which are canoe-like and propelled by a driver using a bamboo pole to push off the bottom. Quite a feat of balance. Another water escape was on a motorized boat through an area of permanent water surrounded by various grasses and birds.

Wilderness Mombo – Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve Botswana

• I did not think it could get better than Vumbura, but Mombo was the peak and our last camp.
• Here the rooms faced west and the sunsets were as amazing as the sunrises at Vumbura. The room’s long wall that faced the west was one long set of dark-stained, floor-to-ceiling sliding shutters. Impeccable design.
• Our guide, Ollie, led us on a wild chase with a pack of African wild dogs who were successful in taking down an impala. Unfortunately for them, they did not get too far in their meal before the hyenas ran off with their meal. It’s a tough life.
• More wildlife sightings than any other of the lodges, with a highlight of seeing a leopard by the name of M’lady. She’s a beauty.
• As in all the camps, the food was outstanding. But a special treat here was the pizza oven and the pizza chef. When he recommended the banana and bacon pizza, I though he was out of his mind. Try it, you’ll like it…a lot!

At the risk of making this review longer, I do want to mention the Residence Hotel in Johannesburg. We stayed there on 3 occasions on this trip as we were moving from country to country, and it was a great place to call home between stops. We stayed in 3 different, unique rooms, each with a crystal decanter of sherry. The breakfast area was tucked into a beautiful garden with several fountains. The menu featured a number of game dishes (carpaccio of warthog/ostrich/crocodile/springbok, ostrich filet, kingklip, among other items) and the piano bar was very cozy for a nightcap.

The best positive comment I could make about this trip is that I’d do it all over again. Same itinerary, same places to stay.

Winter Is Europe’s Secret Season

by Billie Cohen | February 24, 2023

The Countries That Are Open to U.S. Travelers and How to Get In

by Brook Wilkinson | May 12, 2023

Timing your next family trip abroad

by | January 24, 2022

5 Testing Tips for an Easy Return Flight to the U.S.

by Billie Cohen | May 10, 2022

Travel Visas and Expediters, Explained and Made Easy

by Adam Wisniewski | September 19, 2022

10 Top Dream Trips for 2023

by Brook Wilkinson | February 1, 2023