WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Our trip was wondrous, truly, thanks to Jamie Thom and Conservation Safari Company. He provided my wife and me with impeccable service, advice, and logistics. Most of all, he took the time to understand our interests and tailored an incredible journey for us. My wife and I had travelled and lived extensively in Africa. That included backpacking across the entire continent and visiting more than 20 African countries in 1980, living for four years in Kinshasa, Zaire, and for seven years in Rabat, Morocco. In 1998 we had also been on safari in Botswana and done a self-drive safari throughout Namibia. So our request for a specially tailored trip was based on our desire to do something very different this time, to visit the most remote parts of Namibia, and to see some of the wildest parts of southern Africa. Jamie responded 24 hours later with a complete sample itinerary and a price quote. Jamie was that responsive throughout our planning process, answering all our emails and queries in 24 hours or less.
We were excited that Jamie had visited all of the camps he had proposed in Namibia and Botswana, and understood our interests to go far and deep, given our long history of travel in Africa. We asked to have a telephone conversation with him, and he gladly set up the time, and then answered our many questions. Clearly, Jamie knows southern Africa intimately, including Botswana, Namibia, and Zambia, as well South Africa. He had many excellent suggestions as to the camps we were interested in, and the right amount of time to spend at each. For example, he insisted we spend at least 3 nights at Serra Cafema in northern Namibia. He was right, except in hindsight we could have spent 4, 5, or more nights there. Our final itinerary included Tubu Tree in the Okavango Delta (Botswana), and Desert Rhino Camp, Hoanib Skeleton Coast, Serra Cafema, and Little Ongava in Namibia. All of the camps except the last are run by Wilderness Safaris. Our trip was full of wonder, and we can hardly believe we're back home. We would go back to Namibia and Botswana tomorrow if we could, and we would only organize our travels with Jamie Thom and Conservation Safari.
Richard & Denise D, Virginia, USA
Overall the 62 day trip went without a hitch from transfers, in country flights, to lodges and car rentals. The travel team was on top of our schedule and communicated with us and vice versa as issues arose and insured that things were smooth. They were attentive to our overall needs and style of travel. They found lodges and attraction sites that really fit us and there was always other suggestions for us to consider.
The safaris selected in Namibia, Botswana and South Africa, the add on side trips such as sailing in Cape Town and the ride into the Fish River Canyon were fabulous. The lodges but for one were just perfect, comfortable and gave us easy access to the areas we were visiting. The balance between safaris and seeing real daily life in Namibia and South Africa was just great. They also provided us with maps, routes, attraction highlights to see along our routes and travel guides.
Joel K, Canada
Conservation Safari Company was definitely the right choice to plan our trip. We gave them a budget, a timeline, and a list of things we wanted to do on our trip and they made it happen. It was almost effortless for us as they took over planning every detail. We knew nothing about the areas that we were travelling to so it was very nice to have people that were knowledgeable that could set us up with the appropriate accommodations for the types of things we were hoping to do and see while we were there. In Cape Town we were right at the waterfront so we were walking distance to shops and restaurants. In Victoria Falls we were walking distance to the falls. We never had to worry about transportation getting to and from anywhere. Our "excursions" were all planned out in advance and we were picked up and dropped off right from our accommodations. The trip was so seamless that all we had to worry about was enjoying our time there.
Laurie V, Manitoba, Canada
Every day I keep meaning to email you to tell you what a wonderful trip we had. Not only were the safaris absolutely amazing, but every step of the trip that you orchestrated went exactly as planned. Every transfer, every ticket, every plane ride. We also were incredibly lucky on safari, beginning the first afternoon we arrived, and continuing through the last day of the trip.
In Kruger within 10 minutes of starting out, we saw the first of many leopards we would see over the next 7 days—actually seeing one either hunting, pacing, sleeping, bathing, or eating all but one or two days the entire week, including both in Kruger and at Londolozi, which was a wonderful place to stay. We also saw: a beautiful (really beautiful) cheeta, many mother and baby elephants and lions and rhino (!), as well as giraffes, buffalo, zebra, hyena’s stalking and eating a Kudu, wild dogs hunting first a small group of zebras who sprang into a defensive circle and scared the dogs away, then a leopard which we saw them tree (and took pictures of it happening), and who, after the dogs left, came down cool as a cucumber and gave herself a refreshing bath. Also, vultures, birds of all colors, sizes and shapes, and many monkeys. As I said, amazing. So, thank you for all the excellent up front work you did to ensure this all went so smoothly. Both of the lodges were ideal – both well-chosen for us and while both very, very nice, they were also so different. I am sure we will be back to Africa someday.
Every aspect was perfect. Cannot say enough good things about our agent. Every detail was covered and all providers were beyond excellent. Best trip of our lives.
Dr John P - Pennsylvania
With so many tours, so many different safari lodges, so many options in general made planning our first trip to Africa by ourselves virtually impossible. We were so happy we found Conservation Safari Company! The trip was unbelievable! We could not have asked for anything more.
Jamie really listened to what we wanted to do, made recommendations, and put together an excellent itinerary around our budget & time restrictions. They were amazing at responding to our million questions, and juggling the trip around so we could do what we wanted. Everything was so well organised. There was always someone waiting for us, or we were given clear directions of what we needed to do every step along the way. It made for a very easy and pleasant trip.
Our lodges were all wonderful. They were all different, staff were friendly, food was delicious, and we saw some amazing things - some which we never imagined that we would. We also did a couple of recommended tours, and very glad we did.
We love the fact that this company also helps the conservation of Africa's wildlife. It's nice to feel like you're contributing in some small way.
Tricia C - Australia
Jamie is amazing. His attention to detail, time taken to consult with me on my likes/dislikes, what I'm looking for in the African experience is exemplary. He had to bare with my numerous changes, questions, clarifications.....at all times he was there to offer advice, clarity and guidance. He is a very patient man. Every sector was arranged with such care and thought that I for the first time didn't have to think of anything. Jamie had thought of it all!
Dipal P - Singapore
My family was looking forward to a fabulous trip to celebrate my imminent retirement and my daughter's birthday - Jamie supplied us with what we wanted and needed. Starting at Victoria Falls and a 3 night stay at a private island, then on to a day of rest in Johannesburg, 4 nights at a luxurious game lodge and 3 nights at the beautiful hotel in Capetown, our trip met and exceded all our expectations.
Carolyn B - New York
Jamie, you really delivered on all counts……great food everywhere….lot’s of good wine….. a superb level of service from each establishment and person….a trip that was truly memorable. I travel 150+ nights per year and am not usually engaged with hotels, restaurants and those types of services…they all tend to run together. However, to a place the establishments we were exposed to really stood out!
Although I have been to South Africa numerous times for business, having been exposed to locations outside Jo’burg definitely plants the seed to come back and see more one of these days! When we do, I will be sure to let contact you!
Meanwhile, thanks again for everything setting this up and helping make our 25th Anniversary trip something really special!
Mike S - USA
The whole trip was perfect, we only wish we had had more time. Many thanks again for your help putting it together. We'll share some of our pics with you after sorting them out if you want. You'll see that your hats were put to good use :)
Simon B - Singapore
"The whole experience was beyond my expectations and I have visited most of the areas we went to previously, though about 20 years ago. Thank you Jamie for providing such an amazing and exciting holiday with memories at will last for ever. Thank you for your patience and effort in looking after us all and making sure that my gluten and dairy free diet was well catered for. I didn't expect that."
Maureen Hales - Port Macquarie, Australia.
"We had a ball, full days with so many firsts. This trip I really wanted to sit with the Gorillas, see a Rhino in the wild, a Cheetah and the great migration . We were so spoiled we did the lot and so much more, we were amongst the mega heard and there were so many big cats, Lions, Cheetah, Leopard and even the smaller ones Serval and Genet. The food was wonderful, the campsites spectacular with camp fires and the rawness of animal calls late in the night. The tents were large and all canvass and the mattress comfortable after a warm shower and three course meal. All the Safari guides were friendly and knowledgable as were the camp staff, we have all exchanged email addresses and communicated since. The vehicles were cleaned every day and were reliable and comfortable, we had plenty of fresh water to drink during our Safaris. The entire trip was well organised, we were able to meet every flight and check in point on time which can be hard in Africa sometimes. Jamie's skill as a professional photographer means you do come home with some very special photos, he provides the patience to sit and wait for the right moment and when that comes WOW! you have a classic memory for life. Also some very nice candid personal shots of us, very special. My second trip to Africa with Jamie and wont be my last!"
Peter Stemm - Brisbane, Australia.
"Hi Jamie, We are home safely, but tired! We had a GREAT trip and a life long experience and long lasting memories. Our guide did a wonderful job. The boys and I have great stories to tell our friends. Thanks for all your help, it is greatly appreciated and I will recommend your services to all who ask"
Seth Schofield & family, Port Saint Lucie, Florida.
"All in all it was the perfect trip. It was so great for our family. The girls loved it so much, as did we. Thank you so much for coordinating everything for us. We will definitely recommend you to anyone we know who wants to travel down there."
Wendy & Mike Sidley & family, LA, California
"Having 3 kids under aged 9, our game park needs were very specific. Jamie managed to get us into a lodge, at very late notice, that fit our needs perfectly. He is extremely responsive, knowledgeable and reliable - if you are looking for that once-in-a-lifetime African experience then working with Jamie is absolutely mandatory" Thanks again for everything ! It was a perfect trip for us - our boys are still talking about it ! We hope to be back again soon - I'll keep you posted!"
Arne Brock-Utne, MD, California
"Hi Jamie, How could any trip go any smoother than that! We enjoyed everything. Every place was so different. The garden route is beautiful. Good guest houses. So much fun to see! Nice places to stay, even the National Park! Wilderness Safari Camps are all impressive and friendly, good guides, enjoyed talking to all those who helped us. Wonderful operation! Mala Mala Camp very nice! Kwandwe- staying (a farmers's ) house, very fine! We did enjoy staying at the old Heinitzburg again! You did a great job! We enjoyed the trip very much. Too bad So. Africa, Botswana, Namibia are soooo far away!"
Joanie & Ben Case
"We want to thank you and tell you how happy all six of us were with your planning and making all arrangements for our special times in the Botswana camps and South Africa last month. Our trip could not have gone more smoothly. Your advice was consistently good, as were your several other services (including putting up with and timely and patiently responding to the flood of emails we bombarded you with over the last year and a half). It was a pleasure dealing with you--thank you again for making our trip such a great one."
John and Carolyn Garrett - Newport Beach, California
"You made this the most spectacular vacation Mike and I have ever experienced! When one compares life to a book in which travel turns the pages, this outing knocked off a few major chapters. Think of it, old people being completely awed like small children, humbling and uplifting! My mind's eye has thousands of new snapshots and feelings to go with them. Blessings to you and your precious family."
Robin and Mike Krotz - California
"We made it home to the Black Hills safely after a terrific trip. We can't thank you enough for the help and great advice you provided. When our son asked how our trip was, we said "it couldn't have been better"! Truly, it was a wonderful trip from start to finish. We have never had a trip planned for us before. What a great decision it was to utilize your expertise and planning services! From Cape Town to the Garden Route, to Kwandwe and Mala Mala - it was just perfectly planned. Your detailed itinerary made the logistics of the trip so smooth and we were able to relax and enjoy the amazing sights of South Africa. We returned to the U.S. with the most wonderful memories! We hope we are fortunate enough to have you plan another trip for us someday soon."
Phil & Louise Poehlman - Arizona/South Dakota
"In 1998, my husband Ben and I went on our first safari to Africa, a custom safari for two organized by a large well-known operator. I had indicated my interest in wildlife photography and we were fortunate to have Jamie as our guide at Mala Mala in South Africa. He had just been to London to receive the Eric Hosking Award in the "BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year" contest. After visiting a number of other camps and African countries, our experience with Jamie stood out as truly special because of his vast knowledge of wildlife (including birds), his photographic skills, his obvious intelligence, and his gregarious personality. Since that first trip to Africa, which was followed by a trip to East Africa, we wanted to return to Southern Africa, and I contacted Jamie to see if he would arrange our trip and travel with us as our photo guide. We have subsequently been on a number of safaris with him. His contacts, knowledge, high standards and communication skills would be hard to match."
Becky Field - Minnesota (www.rebeccafieldphotography.com)
"In places that are still untouched by the incursions of man there is a wildness that touches our soul and evokes a desire for a time more simple, less harried and less hurried. Of all the wild places that I have been I feel this most acutely in the still unsettled parts of Africa. It is not a sense of peace but an awareness of a time when man lived within the environment that Nature dictated. An environment that he was powerless to change. It is more a recognition that man is a part of the Natural Order and not the architect of the worlds destiny. Perhaps it is a recognition of the place of our beginning. Jamie has shown me many of those places, he knows the soul of Southern Africa as only a native son can. His love of wildlife, photography and his experience as a Game Ranger equip him to introduce you to those sacred places. I travel with him in complete confidence that the places he has selected to show me will not only provide great photographic opportunities but will also nourish the soul."
Dr Ken Ford - Austen, Texas
"Thanks for the great pictures. We just got home about an hour ago - 16 hours Joburg to Atlanta, 5 hours Atlanta to San Francisco - about 25 hours with layovers. Ruth and I had a wonderful time. It was a joy getting to know you and your lovely wife Kerese.Thank you for making our trip the experience of a lifetime - your knowledge of the bush is amazing and you have a real talent for imparting it to others with enthusiasm. Now I can't wait to tell our friends about our adventure. Cheers, Brian"
Brian J Cantwell, Edward C. Wells
Professor Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics Stanford University
"I just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know that we are safely home and the trip was WONDERFUL from start to finish. You planned it perfectly for us and we enjoyed every minute. We are pretty jet-lagged still - the 39 hours of travel to get home took its toll, but when I recover I will write more and maybe send a photo or two. But to give you an example, they started calling us the "lucky Americans" - we saw 7 different leopards at 4 different camps, a rhino from about 10 yards, two lion prides feasting on fresh kills, 3 lion cubs of only a month old (even our guide didn't know there were three, as no one had seen the third one before) and much, much more. The only thing we never saw was a cheetah which we tracked for 2 afternoons and just missed, although the tracking process was fascinating. We fell in love with Botswana, the people were so terrific to us. Anyway, it was great and we had no problems - a couple of flat tires in the bush and a broken fuel line on one of the planes which necessitated sitting on a log by the airstrip for a while until they sent a rescue plane after us - but those things are expected on a trip like this. Hope all is well with you and the family."
Clare Kogler Jordan Whitney, Inc. Tustin, CA 92780
"Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos from our time at Phinda and Mala Mala...great memories! We had such a fabulous experience with you and Becky & Ben. Thank you for arranging the trip of our lifetime...exceeding our wildest dreams!"
Cindy & Bob McNeill South Dakota