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11-Day Zanzibar to Serengeti (Adventure Camping Tour)
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Reviewed 24 July 2016

We ended up booking this tour because it had a guaranteed departure and when were were travelling for 5 weeks we needed surety of the departure. The Tour left from the Safari club - while staying here someone opened the door to our bedroom around midnight - with no security or places to put valuables this was very disconcerting and so my partner stayed awake the rest of the night in case the door opener returned.

We were up bright and early (4.30am) to start our tour. We were surprised that we did not have a briefing or anything with the tour company prior to departure but our driver advised that everything we needed to know was on the itinerary.

We met our other two travellers and Simon our driver that morning. Simon is awesome a really caring, kind gentleman who was always willing to assist.

So we start our 14 day tour in a bus with NO air-conditioning - it had apparently broken during the previous tour and there was no time to fix it. We had to travel the whole time with windows open and in the heat that just wasn't good enough.

From the start the itinerary in no way matched the reality! Breakfast upon leaving the Safari Club was a yogurt, uneatable (it was so old) apple and a peach tea. Not really sufficient to keep anyone going.

We stopped at the Blyde Canyon for lunch and then drove to our accommodation (Hazy view Lodge) which was to be 10 minutes outside the gate into Kruger National Park. This was to become the issue all through the tour - we rarely stayed at where the itinerary had indicted!

Instead we drove the most appallingly corrugated road in stifling heat in a vehicle completely unfit for the road to our accommodation at Nsele Lodge. Olaf, Stephanie and Natalie were excellent hosts and the accommodation was very good as were the meals we had while staying there. We were up at 4.15am in the morning to drive to Kruger National Park - not 10 minutes from the gate but almost 1 hour to get there.

We were very fortunate to have seen all of the big 5 in that day! We finally got back to Nsele at 5.55pm so it was a very long day.

The next day we travelled to Polokwane and had a reasonable start time of 8.15am. Once again though we had to traverse that terrible road and the time it took to get back to the highway and then on the highway. We stopped at the Amarulu Factory and had a really delightful coffee. Lunch was a takeaway - a choice of KFC or KFC. We arrived at Polokwane Game Reserve at 3.25pm to undertake a walking safari for 1 1/2 hours. Only thing is there was absolutely no game anywhere to be seen other than one bad tempered Blue Wildebeest. The park was over grown and a waste of money and time.

We stayed the night at Boma in the Bush - a nice place with a good bar and satisfactory food although nothing to write home about.

Next day we left South Africa at 6.45am and headed to Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. Another exceedingly long day of driving and take aways for lunch - guess what a choice of chicken or chicken! The last part of the trip we travelled 5 hours without a break. The itinerary - (yes that wonderful thing) said we were staying in Bulawayo Town so we could wander the tree lined streets and take in the history. Instead we travel another 35km out of Bulawayo and then another 5km down a dirt road to get to Matobo Ingwe Lodge run by Scott and Annie. We were so far from where we expected to be and with little to do - they had only just reinstated the pool so it was empty. We had a wonderful experience on our morning safari - we got to walk up to about 15 meters away from 4 white Rhino!

We spent two nights at Matobo and left at 6.30am to head to Victoria Falls - 40km back to Bulawayo before we got back on the highway and we stopped twice by police just getting back into Bulawayo. And then the fun really began - we were stopped at police roadblocks 17 times - that is how they make money in Zimbabwe - they stop the vehicle to try and fine the driver for something- never mind that the bus is full of tourists bringing money into the country. For that reason I would never go to Zimbabwe again!

We finally arrived at Vic Falls and into to another different hotel from the Itinerary - the Cresta Sprayview Hotel. This was a motel type complex - very clean and close enough to walk to town and watch the warthogs having mud baths in the middle of the grass roundabout - Great fun!

A wonderful Sunset Cruise and Dinner along the Zambezi River was a real treat and one of the nicest surprises on the tour!

Next morning off to Victoria Falls National Park- we were very lucky that we visited in April as the falls were at their fullest. What an amazing site it is to see and the roar!

Next day we headed to the Chobe River and got to our accommodation around 10.30am. We stayed at the Thebe River Lodge - a nice place close to the Chobe River. Good restaurant and bar and food was good. A sunset cruise along the river was incredible with the variety of animals and birds to view.

Next morning off for a 6.45am game drive through the Chobe National Park - Awesome game drive - lions, leopards and animals galore. Returning to the lodge we had breakfast around 9.30am - a good feed and then off to Gweta Lodge - the best accommodation on the entire tour by far. We had a guided tour around the township of Gweta and met some of the residents. I found it interesting and the people were very friendly. It was a holiday in the village so not much happening but still a nice way to spend the early morning.

We left Gweta at 9.00am to travel to Maun - gateway to the Okavango Delta. This was another itinerary change! We ended up at a different place called Senthaga Guest House. It looked pretty impressive as we drove in - until you looked left to see the green slimey swimming pool which had become home to frogs and mosquitos and was right on the main road. The rooms were modern and spacious and the front counter staff were very friendly and professional. BUT the dining room staff were abysmal. They couldn't get meals out on time or cook them as requested - we were constantly having to ask for things to be brought out.

The guest house was several km from the town so we were effectively stuck in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do! We returned to the guest house after we had a night in the Okavango Delta - to find they had finally emptied the pool!

Our night in the Okavango Delta started with a two hour drive in a bench seat 4 wheel drive truck. Certainly not the most pleasant experience getting there but worth it once we arrived. The team at Delta Rain were amazing starting with the trip through the Delta in a mokoro with Alan as lead poler.

The tented camp was excellent with good facilities and a friendly and delightful team. The food provided was really good and the walks through the bush area were worth it! We never saw so many elephants before with bulls in full musk - a real sight to behold. It was well worth doing this part of the tour and I would recommend it to others.

Returning from the Delta we spent another night in Maun at the Senthaga Guest House before departing for our return to Johannesburg. Our vehicle had developed problems with the suspension -so another vehicle was made available - much smaller than the one we had and with no facilities to keep drinks etc in the vehicle. BUt at least it had some form of air conditioning!

We stopped at Khama Rhino Sanctuary - which was excellent. We were supposed to be staying just down the road from their and as time passed my partner had to ask what was going on - only to be told we would be driving several more hours to get to Martins Drift close to the South African border.

Our final night on tour was spent at Martins Drift - another itinerary change. We were on the road for 12 1/2 hours again, finally arriving at Martins Drift at 6.55pm and we had to go and get our dinner at 7.00pm.

Next day was crossing back into South Africa then finally back to the Safari Club.

The hardest thing about this tour was that the distances to be travelled shown in the itinerary were just wrong - add another 2-3-4 hours - so extremely long days stuck in a vehicle with no air conditioning. The lack of information that the accommodations were changing and the fact that some of these were miles away from the attractions was really frustrating.

Again I want to stress that Simon was excellent but I think Acacia could do more about ensuring that their clients are informed.

Having said all the above (and hindsight being a wonderful thing) we saw so much and did everything we had wanted to. As long as you understand what you are letting yourself in for then you decide if you want to spend that much time in a vehicle!

Date of experience: April 2016
2  Thank Karen255114
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 23 July 2016

I just finished the overland camping trip from Cape Town to Victoria Falls/Livingstone. Amazing!! The guide and driver - yo Big Sam! - were great, nothing was too much trouble and they really worked hard to make sure we all had an incredible time. The itinerary was perfect, we got to see and do so many amazing things - the okavango delta, dune 45, sandboarding, skydiving, chobe national park, vic falls... I could name so much more! And the campsites were incredible, think watching shooting stars on a huge rock in the middle of nowhere, or camping literally next to a elephant watering hole with no fences around you! If you have doubts about camping please don't - the mattresses were A LOT more comfy than i expected, the tents were HUGE and i had hot showers most of the time! And the FOOD. I definitely put on a few kgs. Overall it was an incredible experience with an amazing group of people that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend! Thanks acacia!

Date of experience: July 2016
1  Thank lucy34_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 8 July 2016 via mobile

The highlight of our tour to Victoria Falls was our excellent guide Simon. He really went above and beyond to keep us happy and safe. Simon's enthusiasm is infectious, he is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about show what Southern Africa has to offer. We had an unavoidable change of itinerary due to the political situation in Zimbabwe and Simon was able to keep us well informed and make alternate arrangements.
The tour itself was a great way for us to see Kruger, Botswana and Victoria Falls. There are some long days driving but the spectacular views of Victoria Falls are worth it.
The accommodation is adequate, with the first 2 nights at Nsele Lodge a highlight. The host are very welcoming and the food amazing.
We would recommend Acacia Africa to anyone looking for a guided tour in Africa.

Date of experience: July 2016
3  Thank David R
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 3 June 2016

From Vic Falls to JoBurg - camping all the way. So much fun and what an experience. Great guide! Beautiful places to visit. Highlight was Elephant Sands!!

Date of experience: July 2015
1  Thank The Rainy G
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 12 May 2016 via mobile

Fantastic tour from joburg to Victoria falls. Very knowledgeable guide who gave great facts without personal opinion. Fantastic value also.

Date of experience: May 2016
Thank Dean R
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Sabine_Acacia, Manager at Acacia Africa, responded to this reviewResponded 13 May 2016

Hi Dean R

Great to hear you enjoyed your trip with us - hope to see you again in future!

The Acacia Africa Team

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