"We are very pleased with how Untamed has managed to translate our first ideas about a trip to South Africa into this trip"

Mrs. C. Wiegand

Self drive South Africa

Mrs. C. Wiegand and her husband went on a three-week self-drive through South Africa with another couple. The route: Cape Town - Hermanus - Knysna - Umdloti - St. Lucia - Swaziland - Kruger National Park - Greater Kruger NP - Ohrigstad - Panorama Route.

Dear Untamed employees,

By means of a nice map you have asked us to share our travel experiences of our trip to South Africa with you. I am happy to comply with this, on behalf of all four travelers.

It was a fantastic trip. We are still very happy that we have reversed the proposed program from Johannesburg to Cape Town. It's good to start in a 'western' city like Cape Town if you get out of all the hustle and bustle here to end up with the real Africa and better (warmer and sunnier) weather.

If we were to make the same trip again, we would suggest a small adjustment. We would like to stay one night longer in Camp Shawu and one more night in Iketla Lodge and cancel the stay in Gomo Gomo Game Lodge. This is quieter and both accommodations are worth staying an extra night. Especially in Iketla lodge, the last stay before the return trip, it would have been nice to have an extra day to relax. Now we also wanted to see a part of the Panorama Route and there was no time left to recover from all the impressions, as Untamed describes in the travel program, before we travel back.

About the accommodations:
We are very satisfied with all accommodations, with the top ones being Trevoyan Guesthouse, Camp Shawu and Iketla Lodge. It was striking that we were asked at various accommodations why the booking had been overbooked. Apparently Untamed transferred the original booking through another local travel agent. This was not known to us and we were therefore unable to answer the questions. It was also striking that at a number of accommodations it was indicated that we had German nationality; that is of course not correct at all.

What we had already read in the final Travel Itinerary was that we had a family chalet at the Gomo Gomo Game Lodge. This was never discussed with us and in the last two weeks before departure we have not had the opportunity and seen the need to inquire about this with Untamed. Practice has shown that a family chalet is not pleasant for two couples. The family chalets are really for a family with children. The family chalet had a master bedroom and a children's room with two single beds. There was only one safe in the master bedroom and it is too small for papers and equipment such as telephones and tablets for 4 adults. The entrance to the chalet was in the master bedroom and the couple from the 'nursery' always had to leave the room of the other couple. This severely limited privacy.

It was also striking that the employees at Whale Rock Lodge were very rushed and did not always have the correct information. Our planned whale watching tour was canceled due to bad weather conditions. The next morning we asked the employee to check whether the trip could continue. We saw a blue sky, a calm sea and no wind. The employee said that they had called and that all trips were canceled again because the sea had to recover from the storm for a few days. We thought it was quite a strange story and we still walked to the harbor where the boat departed from and it turned out that the trip went ahead and that no one from Whale Rock Lodge had called that morning. Fortunately we were still able to join us, because that afternoon we had to travel on to Knysna and then we would have missed the whale watching tour. Furthermore, a great stay there in a good location.

About the car:
Both cars were fine. Untamed had informed us about a box in the car for the toll roads and that an amount would be reserved on the credit card for this. That's not entirely clear yet. At the toll gates, the employees said that the box is not working (yet) and we had to pay in cash. In some cases, however, we did hear a beeping sound from the box, which gives us the impression that something was indeed registered. We have not yet received the final statement from Avis for the second leg of the journey from Durban. So I can't see yet whether toll has still been deducted from the credit card. If so, I'll let you know. Especially in the Kruger Park, a sturdy car (in the rainy season perhaps 4x4) is recommended. In any case, we were glad that we had not reserved a small car.

About the directions:
The directions are almost all correct. The exception is the directions to Port Elizabeth Airport. Much earlier than indicated in the description you will come across signs pointing you in the direction of the airport. That's confusing. You don't know whether to follow the signs or the directions. We have chosen to follow the signs, but then the route description is no longer correct. The sign we followed is called: M12/airport/William Moffet. If we had to take an exit later, it is wise to include in the route description that one should not turn at the aforementioned sign, but really continue until the exit M4, as stated in the route description. Furthermore, two sentences have been reversed in the route description towards Gomo Gomo Game Lodge. Bullet 7 must be in front of bullet 6.

About the reception:
We were very warmly welcomed by Tiamo.

I hope Untamed can do something with our experiences. On the whole of the trip, the above reports are negligible and certainly not a point of criticism. It was a fantastic trip and we are very pleased with how Untamed managed to translate our first ideas about a trip to South Africa into this trip. Thank you for this.

Christa Wiegand