This Tour Is Offered By
Southern African Tours
- Office In:
- 5-10 employees (Founded in 2008)
- Member Of:
- SATSA & CTT
- Tour Types:
- Custom mid-range tours that can start every day
Craig Lucke, owner/guide of Southern African Tours is deeply embedded in his work and has an intuitive knowledge built up over a lifetime of growing up on the continent. His tangible passion for travel in Africa that was born years ago when he decided to cross the length of the continent in a not so trusty Land Rover. Nothing could have prepared him better for his next adventure which was to be the birth of SATOURS. His team have been creating unforgettable African safaris since 2007.
Above and Beyond: Bianca and Craig, My Unforgettable Heroes
Southern African Tours, was chosen by my tour organizer to guide the 14 of us through the captivating sites of Cape Town for the first five days of our 16- day journey. Each of the first three days I spent with Craig as our guide was an extraordinary adventure. He was extremely knowledgeable, flexible, and charismatic. However, fate took an unfortunate turn on the fourth day when I encountered a debilitating accident, rendering me unable to continue the remainder of our scheduled trip. As the tour group carried on without me, leaving Cape Town and me behind, a sense of abandonment overwhelmed me, leaving me unsure of how to navigate this unforeseen predicament.
In the midst of my despair, an unexpected beacon of hope emerged: Bianca and Craig, the epitome of compassion and care. They embraced me as though I were kin, tending to my every need with unwavering devotion. Bianca took charge and swiftly contacted my travel insurance company, leaving no stone unturned to ensure my well-being. She arranged for medical visits, holding my hand throughout the process, and accompanied me on a gentle stroll to the pharmacy, making certain I lacked nothing. Sensing my discomfort, they orchestrated a seamless transition to a charming boutique hotel near their home, surpassing any expectations I held. Bianca even did my laundry!! She rescheduled my return flight and arranged for a wheelchair. She and Craig drove me to the airport, sparing no effort to guarantee a smooth journey back home.
In this ever-chaotic world, where selflessness often feels scarce, Bianca and Craig shone as beacons of hope, guiding me through the darkest moments of my trip. Their actions surpassed the boundaries of their professional obligations, leaving an indelible mark on my heart. I am forever indebted to their unwavering support and profound humanity.
Above and beyond the call of duty, Bianca and Craig exemplified the true essence of heroism, transforming an otherwise traumatic experience into a testament of human compassion. Their unwavering dedication and remarkable care will forever be etched in my memories, a testament to the extraordinary individuals who stepped forward when I needed them the most.
Personalized and Locally Curated Experience
In the process of planning our trip to Africa, we found Southern Africa Tours while comparing other larger international tour companies. The competitive cost of the tour is what originally gained our attention and we were immediately impressed by the prompt attention we received from Bianca and Craig. They were very responsive and quickly arranged a package for us to fit within our particular timeframe, which was a little last-minute. Initially there was some confusion getting everything arranged as some emails back and forth were not going through. Bianca was very patient with ensuring we received the information we needed even if she had to send multiple times or to multiple emails. She prepared and revised our itinerary according to our interests in each area of travel. Bianca also included suggestions for activities and packing lists.
Arriving in Johannesburg, Bianca had arranged for us to stay in the OR Tambo City Lodge which was very conveniently attached to the airport, allowing us to go directly to our hotel without leaving the airport. The next day we were promptly picked up by Kurt Safari and driven to our accommodations at the Hazyview Sun Lodge. This location was a substitute for our original hotel which was under renovation. The Hazyview Sun was a bit older than other locations, but the setting was beautiful, the staff was very helpful, and the food and drinks were delicious. We spent the next few days on safari in Kruger National Park and touring local sites along Blyde River Canyon. Kurt Safari took excellent care of us and ensured that we made the most of every moment we spent in Kruger. Our safari guide, Chris, made sure that we were the first in the park gate each morning as the sun came up. We were very fortunate to have a private safari experience as it was only Chris, my wife and myself. As an extensively experienced guide, Chris was incredible at spotting animals and putting us in the prime position for observation. He was quickly able to predict animal behavior and utilized his relationships with other park staff to show us well over 45 animal species, including the Big Five and much more. In addition to Kruger National Park, Kurt Safari also took us on the Panorama tour around Blyde River Canyon. We were able to take several short hikes in a beautifully foggy, cloud-forest environment to see God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, and The Three Rondavels. This day trip provided an interesting and relaxing alternative to the daily safari. At the conclusion of our time in Kruger we departed from Skukuza Airport and flew to Cape Town.
At the Cape Town Airport we were greeted by Bianca and Craig in person. They were incredibly helpful with our bags and getting us through the airport. They also spent some time with me in a pharmacy to help me get some cold medicine. Craig and Bianca were both very excited to hear about our journey so far and gave us the feeling of having a local friend or relative in the area to help us get our bearings. They arranged for us to have time on our own to explore and improvise in addition to scheduled activities and tours. In Cape Town, Bianca and Craig personally checked us in and got us settled in our room at the Radisson Red. They were quick to adapt our itinerary and activities based on the weather forecast. There was only one day of inclement weather in the entirety of our time in Africa. On this rainy day we were able to explore the waterfront in Cape Town and visit restaurants, craft markets and museums. Bianca and Craig took us to the Constantia wineries as a spur of the moment rainy day outing. Later that night they took us to a local interactive dinner experience where we were able to drum along with traditional musicians and sample authentic cuisine. The following day, we were picked up by Craig and Joel for a guided tour of Cape Town, Table Mountain and the Cape of Good Hope. We were given an in-depth history of the city and its complex social climate. Craig is a very passionate and proud citizen of Cape Town, eagerly offering his perspective on the politics of the region and the diverse collection of its residents. Joel provided point of view as a native of the Cape and his expertise as a trained nature guide on the many animal and plant species of the area. We visited Table Mountain and the Cape of Good Hope to soak in the awe-inspiring views of these must-see locations. We also boarded a boat to visit a seal colony island, but the boat trip was cut short due to tidal conditions. Afterward, Craig and Joel took us along the coast to the seaside town of Kalk Bay which was a major highlight of the trip. We visited penguin colonies and observed surfers on the beach. In Kalk Bay we stayed at the Chartfield Guest House, which is easily one of the most adorable places we’ve stayed. The town was easily walkable and offered many activities such as drinking, dining, shopping, hiking and more. We spent our time in Kalk Bay exploring the piers and tidal pools. One day we even walked a few towns over to Muizenberg Beach, then bar-crawled our way back to our guest house. Kalk Bay is also the best place to buy souvenirs!
After our time in Kalk Bay we were taken to the Cape Town airport by Craig and Bianca. After parting ways with them, we were on our way to Victoria Falls Zimbabwe. Our accommodation, the Shongwe Oasis, was the most beautiful and luxurious of the trip. In Victoria Falls we were taken on a guided tour by Shearwater. The Falls were running very high that day and the mist was incredible! We got very wet and actually damaged our camera through our own carelessness. Since the mist was so high, visibility was poor, so we opted for a helicopter flight over the falls. We stayed in contact with Bianca and she compared prices for us with companies she trusts. Shearwater was among those that she recommended so it was very easy for them to put us on a flight immediately after our walking tour of Victoria Falls. The view from the air is breath-taking and should not be missed. The scale of this natural wonder can really only be grasped from above. Later we were able to walk out on the Victoria Falls bridge which is the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Since the border crossings in the area are a neutral zone between countries, there were several local residents present in the border area that were from both countries. We were approached by a couple of young men who were selling bracelets and given the circumstances, we felt obliged to purchase two bracelets from them. The interaction stayed pleasant as we haggled the price down and they took pictures with us afterward. The view from the bridge was certainly worth the excursion and process of passing through border. While in Zimbabwe we were also given the chance to spend a day in Botswana touring the Chobe River National Park.
Botswana and Chobe are stunning, and we can’t recommend them enough. The park is home to hundreds of elephants and many other animals. There is also a very large pride of lions that we could observe from a very close range. The Chobe daytrip provided us with a unique opportunity to see our favorite animals from the water as we cruised the river. We were able to get up close and personal with elephants, hippos, buffalo, crocodiles and more. This experience served as a wonderful finale to our time in Southern Africa. If it was possible, we would’ve loved more time in Botswana.
The trip as a whole went very smoothly and we felt comfortable with the balance between guided tours and free time that was provided to us. Bianca especially was a great resource to us by staying in contact via WhatsApp. She assisted us when we wanted to improvise activities or even do laundry. Bianca was also an incredible help after we returned home. Due to flight delays in Johannesburg, we were rushed through customs and security, having to board a connecting flight without our check luggage at the direction of extremely helpful airport personnel. We stayed in contact with Bianca the entire time and she kept pressure on the local airlines to track our luggage as we travelled home. The luggage was eventually sent to a local airport near us, and we were able to pick it up the day after we arrived home.
We highly recommend Southern Africa Tours for the personal, local touch in curating the perfect trip through the vast and diverse locations of Southern Africa. If we are ever to return to Africa we will certainly reach out to Bianca and Craig again.
Our favorite holiday!
We wholeheartedly recommend Southern Africa Tours. Craig and Bianca are experts in their field and dealing with them was a pleasure.
We told Craig and Bianca what our interests were and they planned a trip that was perfect for us. We had a fantastic time: 12 days of seeing and doing what we had hoped for. The memories of animals, sights and experiences will remain with us forever.
Before we return to Africa, we will first contact Southern Africa Tours to organize our next trip.
Exceeded Expectations on Safari & Cape Town City Tour
Our experience with Craig and Bianca with Southern African Tours was exceptional. They were incredibly easy to work with, responsive to messages, and provided solutions to our specific travel needs. We were delighted with our Kruger safari and accommodations at Umbhaba Eco Lodge. Our game driver, Fortune, was knowledgeable and highly skilled in spotting animals. I had read "80% chance of spotting the big 5 in a three day safari". We saw them all (repeatedly) in our first day! We were astonished by how close we were to the animals. I never would have believed how many animal species could be viewed so close in Kruger and with the exceptional skill of our guide. My husband and I had booked a semi-private tour and the company of a Danish couple and Spanish solo traveler added to our enjoyment. Also more eyes in helping to spot animals. We also visited the Elephant Whisper. It was neat to learn more about the elephants and get to interact with them directly.
We did the Panorama Tour one day and visited God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck potholes, and Blyde River Canyon-3 Rondavels. It was a private tour with Nicky as our guide. Nicky was very knowledgeable and set the pace to ensure the best viewing times (to avoid the fog). We enjoy hiking and it was a pleasure to get out and walk/hike these unique and beautiful settings.
We completed our trip with a private 2-day Cape Town city tour. Gareth was our guide and organized and timed everything perfectly. We stayed at Radisson Red which is an ideal location to safely enjoy the city night life. We had a wonderful dinner at Den Aker (French/Belgian) and highly recommend. A few of our favorites included Table Mountain, the Boulder Beach penguin colony, and Cape Good Hope. There was high wind and Table Mountain had been closed the day prior. Gareth was on top of all details and was monitoring the situation and our itinerary to ensure we were able to see it and at the optimal visibility. Sightings of wild baboon and ostrich right at the side of the road were an unexpected delight. After wine tasting at De Grendel, Gareth surprised us with a stop at a lovely beach and we were able to tip our toes in the water. We ended our adventure with a drummies and dinner show before heading to the airport for a late night flight back to the USA.
We truly had the most wonderful time. Without hesitation, we felt completely safe and well cared for. Our program was customized with the safari, panoramic tour and Cape Town and we would not have changed a thing. We give Southern African Tours a 5+ star rating and highly recommend.
Five star, luxury 10 day trip of a lifetime in Western Cape and Kruger
Craig and Bianca arranged an amazing 10 day itinerary for our first visit to South Africa which blew all of our expectations.
Our accommodation in each location was absolute luxury; from Whale viewings from our bedroom window in Hermanus, to relaxing in an outdoor pool on the outskirts of Kruger, we benefitted from Craig and Bianca's connections and experience in the industry at each point, which also translated into amazing value for money.
Our guides in both locations were outstanding - Christopher from Kurt Safari in Kruger, and Gareth in Cape Town. Both had such a wealth of knowledge about the local areas, history and culture; there was never a dull moment on the journeys.
This was the only company who we communicated with where we really felt like our trip was completely tailored to exactly what we wanted, with helpful tips and suggestions added in if we wanted. We were catered for from start to finish, each stage of the trip was carefully planned and communicated throughout.
Furthermore, upon learning of an unplanned flight delay on our final day, Bianca went above and beyond to find us alternative accommodation, transfers and dinner; all in beautiful and safe locations. She made what could have been a stressful end to our holiday (thanks to the airline) an absolute breeze, we are incredibly grateful for her help in our hour of need. This just epitomised the personal level of service we recieved from start to finish.
Thank you for the adventure of a lifetime. We have already recommended Southern Africa Tours to friends and family and can't wait to come back!
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