Communications with the team were good, responses were always prompt and dealt with any queries we had extremely professionally. Travel Locals choice of agents in S Africa was spot on again. This is our second holiday organised by travel local and we can't wait for our third. As with Costa Rica in 2017 I'll be writing a similar trip on our wildlife sightings, the excellent service from Travel Local
Communications before booking and once we had finalised our itinerary with Rachel in South Africa were very good and she provided excellent answers to all our specific questions on a whole array of subjects. The provision of the photo book as an overview, source of information and an excellent souvenir was superb and an unexpected extra detail that we highly valued. Having a phone/sat nav sent to us prior to the trip also was of great help as we could contact tailor made or other local numbers much cheaper than using UK phones. The Sat Nav was very useful for navigation as you'd expect. But also saved costs than renting from the car hire company. Having the director of your South African partners (Nick) as our private guide for an all day (11 hours) tour of the iSimangaliso Wetland reserve was superb. He knew that we had more than a keen interest in the bird life as well as mammals and proved to be an extremely knowledgeable guide. The lunch on the beach was a lovely touch too. Their suggested choices of locations meant that we visited many places where we otherwise would not have thought to visit especially Tembe Elephant Park. This is a magical reserve with big tusker elephants run by the local Tembe people and was our favourite place on our holiday. It provided an authentic African experience.
To be honest there is very little we feel they could have improved on. The itinerary on one day was a bit of a rush to get from Tembe to St Lucia in time for a hippo boat, after early game drive, giving us only c45 mins to find, settle into our B+B and find lunch, we were close to being delayed by a traffic accident. The Hippo boat may have been better scheduled for the couple of days which we had free in St Lucia as part of a 4 night stay here.
Ghost Mountain: Patrick was our guide for Mkuze game drives and fig forest walk and was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable particularly about birds. Tembe: Hector took all of our game drives in Tembe, how he found a skulking rhino in the gloomy twilight we'll never know. He was attentive to the requests from his passengers when asking to stop for photos and served a mighty fine G+T sundowner! iSimangaliso: Nick (as mentioned above) was a fantastic guide for iSimangaliso and we had a fantastic day seeing many excellent birds, he was great company and very easy to be with, it felt like we were on a drive with a friend. Mavela/Manyoni: Niku at Mavela completed a fantastic set of guides for our south African adventure. Experienced, but new to the Lodge he was excellent on our four drives in Manyoni. He was very good at finding some excellent birds and other wildlife encounters including Wild Dogs (we were so lucky). He was very patient as our game drives were with two other birders and we asked for quite a lot of stopping to ID birds and take photos. He was also excellent company over post game drive dinner with his fiance too.
Visit Tembe it's amazing! Birding in Manyoni/Mavela is also spectacular.
For the whole safari experience Tembe was our favourite part of the trip. From the sung welcome on arrival, the wonderful enthusiastic and friendly staff, the luxury tent and the tasty food at camp we could not ask for more. Four of the big five was a bonus!