Hurry, boy, she’s waiting there for you ~ Toto: Africa
How we pick our safari lodges for you.
- authentic sense of wilderness with no urban intrusion
- passionate, knowledgeable game rangers
- a history of outstanding game viewing
- a good sized traversing area for private game viewing
- clean, ultra comfortable camps and lodges
- visible lodge management
- ease of access into open game drive vehicle
- lodges with carefully planned infrastructure (discreet staff quarters, septic tanks away from rooms, flush toilets, regular hot water, security)
- well-maintained safari lodges ~ everything works
- attractive main lodge buildings, well decorated
- generous, quality, freshly prepared meals, with sufficient choices for all tastes
- chalets or tents with mosquito screens on windows or over beds in malaria areas
- a warm, personal welcome on arrival and caring, helpful lodge staff in general
- unexpected little add-ons that take service from “good enough” to “outstanding”
The safari team.
Ute Sonnenberg is a consummate Africa travel specialist who has been planning and implementing successful safari tours, retreats and wildlife photography experiences for decades. She gets into the fine detail of planning and logistics immediately, presenting clients with detailed itineraries quickly and efficiently. Hailing from a background of psychology and economics, she is graced with a sympathetic and well-organised mind that focuses on her client’s safari wishes: to create a superb African safari. She has broad, first-hand knowledge of all the safari regions. For Ute, every safari is personal and unique. Ask her to help you plan; she is happy to share. Based in Johannesburg, she has a network team in Europe, the USA and Australia.
John Grant is a Cape winelands specialist with a stellar reputation for bringing South Africa’s well-established wine estates to life through fascinating insights and highly enjoyable tours. He is highly sought after for his small group wine tours in South Africa’s lyrical wine growing area from Cape Town to Hermanus and beyond. As a child growing up in Zululand, Natal province, he experienced the Kruger Park as many South African families do: frequently and extensively, holidaying in the Park during school holidays. This is, after all, why the Kruger Park was established – as a people’s park and to conserve our Big 5. Seeing the synergy in his wine touring expertise with his African bushveld passion, John and his wife Sherri-Linn added a safari element to their enterprise, to great effect. Their focus is on wildlife experiences for discerning clients, offering quality safaris whether budgets are at mid-range or luxury levels. They have partnered with lodges where service delivery “goes the extra mile”, ensuring visitors keep returning for more.
Marianne Birrell is an ex-teacher and journalist who wandered into a “right time, right place” moment which led to a year of working in a Sabi Sand Game Reserve lodge. This period was an awakening, which fostered a profound appreciation of the natural beauty of Africa and its fascinating creatures, of nature in perfect balance. “When I experienced what was in my back yard all along, I just knew it was for sharing.” In time, she and her husband built a home in a nature reserve in the Kruger area, and that’s when her safari service was born. The couple visited dozens of private reserves and safari lodges in the Kruger area to do research. International travel, plus a 5-year corporate stint in Geneva, helped her understand the expectations of first world travellers, and this shaped the standard of qualification to a “recommended” list of safari lodges to share with clients.
Tip from Marianne:
I am really fussy about which lodges we recommend. Quality matters. If you’d like to quizz me about the above, I’ll provide more details with pleasure.