Trip date: February 2019

Travelstory of Mr. and Mrs. de Jong

In 2015, after our Victoria Falls – Capetown bike tour, we added a safari trip to the back. This was organized by the ZAS. Totally great, so good that our friends have done this too. When we decided on January 15, 2019 we will go again, we looked at the site of ZAS and called. Hanneke managed to stick everything together so that the journey could continue. The consultation is always very nice and the questions are well asked.

We flew with BA from Adam to London and then to Johannesburg. BA has an amazing luxury luggage policy, suitcase up to 23 kg and hand luggage up to 23 kg (Handbag trolley and laptop bag). However, BA has abolished some comfort compared to earlier. Little legroom and moderate catering. But very favorable rate.

First we slept one night in Ermelo (ZA) and the next day we drove on to the Rhino River lodge at Hluhluwe. Along the way we had a car crash, the car total loss and we luckily unharmed.

Fortunately I had a ZA prepaid number and called Hanneke (ZAS), explained briefly, had someone else explain the place of the accident … and Hanneke says: I take care of everything, you are insured and I will call you back in no time. This service is so incredibly nice, what a relief. And Hanneke arranged everything, we were picked up by Europe car and drove about 2 hours later with another car (Nissan Almera, by the way not recommended for the ZA roads, weak in the springs) on to our lodge. Rhino River is a nice lodge with air conditioning. And that sleeps well. The staff and guides are more than you dare to hope and immediately set the bar high for what is to come. We have slept 3 nights and the game driven makes everything forget. Seen a lot and had a good time.

The next was Tonga beach lodge. A luxury lodge with beautiful spacious cottages located on the beach.

The activities there are different, more focused on water; the sea and Lake Sibaya. We like the bush drives better. But this lodge offers many extras, such as an extensive Spa program. This lodge can only be reached with 4×4. And yet, every day on the way there, guests end up in the bush. There is a small error in the route description, which is given by the lodge. As a result, people tend to turn to the right too early and get stuck. So pay attention to the kms driven and only turn off when you have driven all the kms. With us, the Garmin has shown us the way correctly.

The following 2 nights we stayed in the Kosi Forest lodge a little further away. Is particularly idyllic and guide George knew a lot. However, if I would make this trip again, I would choose Kosi Forest for Tonga Beach. Then slept one night in Shayamoya lodge on the border of Swaziland. Great lodge, we wanted to stay there for 2 days.

Continue through Swaziland with an overnight stay at Forester Arms, Mbabane. Swaziland has bad roads with large holes, but what a landscape. Really cool!

Now to the last lodge, Rhino Post Krugerpark. Beautiful spacious stay. Again a great staff and guides. Seen all the big animals, admired many colored birds, rode an evening drive for 15 minutes with a lion. Sjokke, sjokke, sjokke over the road (is easier for him) looking for his brother Strongly thinned and about eight years old. Usually the females chase and the males join. And seen a leopard at the start of the morning drive! Here too the guide knew how to satisfy my hunger for stories and why. The guides are at home in the area and know who is who and who belongs to whom. So book something with a guide and don’t do self-drives in the park. You miss 3/4 and do not enter the private games. And we find driving in those open jeeps time and time again a party.

All lodges have a good kitchen and as a vegetarian I have not lost anything. Rating: 1 Rhino River lodge chased by Rhino Post lodge, 3 Thonga Beach, 4 Shayamoya, 5 Kosi Forest. I have small 500 selected photos and many beautiful memories of this trip.

A good tip from Hanneke is: Bidvest lounge at the airport. On the last day we drove from Kruger to JHB and planned a good deal of time. We were already at 3 pm at the airport, waited until 4:15 pm and then to the lounge. Approximately 25 pp, max. 4 hours, shower facilities and towels, lazy chairs, wifi, generous buffet and very wide choice of drinks. Wonderfully rested we walked to the gate in 15 minutes. (When paying by credit card, ask for the South African Rand. Then Visa determines the rate and not the lounge)

The trip exceeded our expectations! Great support from ZAS, you can’t go wrong with us! South Africa, we are coming back!

Fred and Renate de Jong