My husband and I wanted to explore somewhere new this year and decided upon Africa, but had no real clue where to go in this massive continent! After speaking with TravelLocal about the type of holiday we wanted (the great outdoors, diving, wildlife, a bit of adventure) and our budget, they recommended South Africa and put us in touch with their local partner there. We had a more in depth chat with the local partner about our holiday wishes and they put together an itinerary for us which sounded great - it even included a few days in Mozambique so we could do some diving. The whole booking process was super easy, efficient and felt tailored to us. The holiday sounded good on paper but was way beyond our expectations! Because we were quite relaxed about location and left it to TravelLocal and their local partner's expertise, we really didn't know a great detail about South Africa or Mozambique and each part of the holiday felt like a real surprise, and we loved every moment of it! The trip was really well put together so there was constant variety and we got to experience different landscapes, without spending too much time driving between locations. And the tour organisation was fantastic. We knew exactly where we needed to go, who we needed to speak to, what we were doing next at every stage, making it an entirely stress-free holiday where we could just enjoy ourselves and experience South Africa.
The pre-trip service was great. They really listened to our wishes and came up with an itinerary that suited us perfectly. They answered all our questions and made us feel really excited about the holiday. The scheduling of the trip was really well thought through, to make sure there was lots of variety in the trip. The organisation was excellent - we were given a GPS, local mobile phone and itinerary book with all the information we needed. It made getting to each new location stress free. The hotels and lodges felt like they'd been carefully picked for both ambience and the service. We also had great rooms in each location. Little touches, such as texts to see how we were getting on and a personal visit when we were in St Lucia really made the us feel like they wanted us to have an amazing holiday.
Nothing really, other than making sure early check-in is available on the first day, after our flight arrived. We had to wait a little bit before getting into our B&B on the first day.
Our guide, Nico at Mavela Game Lodge, was exceptional. His knowledge was incredible and he really worked hard to make sure we got the most out of every game drive. Sakhile and Heynie from Shaka Barker Tours in St Lucia were both really friendly and very knowledgable about iSimangaliso Wetland Park. We really enjoyed both Shaka Barker Tours Mpume from Theo Tours gave us a really fun cultural tour of a Zulu village and creche and a real insight into her life. Bev and Mandy at Gala Gala Eco Resort looked after us incredibly well, particularly when my husband injured himself, and needed to get his leg stitched up.
If you like nature and wildlife, this is the place for you! Be prepared for an action-packed holiday and lots of early mornings (morning game drives start at 5.30/6am). This isn't for people who just want to lie on the beach and relax all day.
Swimming with dolphins in Mozambique, watching hippos lounging in St Lucia and our epic three days at Mavela Lodge in the Maynoni Game Reserve, where we saw all sorts of amazing animals and birds in their natural habitat.