Sort By: Date Most Helpful Rating 11-20 of 26 Reviews
John   –  
Malaysia MY
Visited: April 2016 Reviewed: May 3, 2016

Email John  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

A truly great African Spectacular with supberb itinerary and wildlife sightings

Out of five tour operators we contacted, Marianne Birrell Safaris responses stood out from the others due to their detailed itineraries and suggestions. Marianne personally was involved in advising us and getting the best value for our budget. The holiday itself in Cape Town, Sabi Sands, Victoria Falls, Chobe and Okavango was overall above our expectations and all the logistics and transfers went smoothly. Our only issue was at the tented camp at Moremi Crossing which had low water problems and staff which didn't meet the high standard of the other lodges. Southern Africa can be daunting but Marianne passed on tips and additional tour suggestions right up to our departure date, and came back promptly to all our questions. We would definitely use Marianne again for other tours and have passed on a recommendation already to our family and friends.

Susan   –  
United States US
Visited: February 2016 Reviewed: Feb 26, 2016

Email Susan  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

Amazing experience

From the start to the finish Marianne listened to our wants and delivered! It is sometimes frightening to know who to trust when planning such a large trip via Internet. Each step of the way, though, everything was done exactly when she said it would be and how she said it would be. Wonderful experience and cannot say enough about how responsive and caring Marianne is. I would highly recommend her and hope to be fortunate enough to have her plan another trip for me.

Steve & Ingrid   –  
United States US
Visited: October 2015 Reviewed: Nov 17, 2015

Email Steve & Ingrid  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

Best travel experience ever

Marianne Birrell Safaris put together the most fantastic trip for us, giving excellent guidance and advice from beginning to end. Our four-day stay at Ngala Safari Lodge was outstanding in every respect, and our five days in Cape Town were superb. This was our first safari experience, but--as former airline employees--my wife and I are experienced travelers, including destinations in the Far East, South America, the Caribbean (lots!), Russia, and Europe (30+).

Marianne gave us excellent advice with respect to when to travel, what to bring, where to stay, and what to see.
She advised us to travel to the Kruger Park area before the bush vegetation started to fill in, which makes game viewing more difficult, and then continue to Cape Town to get slightly longer days and warmer temperatures. The weather was indeed ideal at the game reserve and the game viewing experience at Ngala could not have been better--notably rhinos, hippos (in the water), leopards, and plenty of lions, elephants, and buffalo. The Cape Town weather was also nearly perfect--one gray day out of five and just an occasional need for a light jacket. Marianne certainly knows the South Africa weather patterns!

Marianne's recommendation of the accommodations was also superb. We started planning the trip in August, which narrowed the choices due to decreased availability. We were lucky that one of Marianne's favorites, Ngala Safari Lodge, opened up during our Sept-Oct travel window. At Ngala, the thatched huts were quite comfortable, every meal was excellent , and the service was highly attentive. Every game drive brought a new and exciting experience. It was as if the six of us in the vehicle, in addition to our ranger Andre and our tracker Joseph (both amazing at spotting the animals), had the 35,000 acre private reserve all to ourselves. I don't know how Marianne did it, but we had one of the most private locations at the lodge--no walkways to any other hut passing near us.

In Cape Town we stayed at the Mount Nelson. Marianne would have us stay nowhere else. We had a fabulous room with a beautiful view to Table Mountain. The hotel service is excellent, the grounds are gorgeous, and the area is quiet at night . The breakfast buffet rivals that of any hotel in the world, and the high tea is just amazing. Thanks to Marianne's advice, we were able to get the right tours to see the most important highlights in the short time we had--wineries, Kirstenbosch, the peninsula (not impressed with the penguin colony, however), the V&A Waterfront (including harbor cruise), and whale watching in Hermanus.

Marianne also has put together a most helpful list of what to bring. We try to travel only with carry-on (thank goodness Ngala does laundry!), and we had everything we needed (including binoculars and three cameras) and nothing that was surplus (except the mosquito spray--hardly any mosquitoes around anywhere).

Communications with Marianne Birrell Safaris were excellent. We exchanged probably fifty or more emails planning and confirming details of the trip, and the responses were always prompt. Marianne also kept in touch with us while we were traveling, either by email or text, which was quite comforting although we had no glitches (for the first time ever in all our travels) anywhere along the way. She made sure we had the contact information also for the taxi service she arranged for the airport transfers, but they were reliable and on time. Marianne prepared every aspect of our trip so that it could not have run smoother.

For our next trip to South Africa, we will definitely turn to Marianne Birrell Safaris!

Michael and Patrizia   –  
Germany DE
Visited: October 2015 Reviewed: Oct 20, 2015

Email Michael and Patrizia  |  35-50 years of age  |  Experience level: 2-5 safaris

great advice, great adventure

our safari experience was wonderful, and Marianne helped us to make it possible, giving us great advice on the lodge, activities, travel, health, timing ... She even helped us sorting out our international money transfer (no small feat when money gets trapped between banks). At our lodge, the Ngala ranger-tracker team of Mike and Fanny was amazingly professional and competent. We learnt and viewed so much for such a short period of time. Highly recommended!

Dale   –  
Canada CA
Visited: August 2015 Reviewed: Oct 3, 2015

Email Dale  |  65+ years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

A magical safari experience from beginning to end; everything well thought out and executed.

I cannot use enough superlatives to describe the perfection of our mother/daughter trip Marianne designed for us! She thought of every detail ensuring both our comfort and safety. The accommodation and food throughout all lodges and guest houses I would rate as a 10 and the people at each location were thoughtful and certainly aimed to please their guests. Our mail concern, being two women travelling alone, were the transfers between our many destinations and they all went smoothly as Marianne saw to that. She was professional and friendly in all our dealings and countless emails offering us suggestions and options to choose from within our budget. The safari lodges she chose for us were beautiful and comfortably appointed and their drivers and trackers ensured we saw eveything possible. Our trip was the dream of a life time and we owe it all to Marianne's careful and meticulous planning. We had a dream and she made it happen!

Heather   –  
United States US
Visited: August 2014 Reviewed: Aug 29, 2015

Email Heather  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

Custom Safari Adventure

Was referred to Marianne by a friend in the States. She was excellent. I have planned trips for my friends before and we are always looking for something out of the ordinary that would not be found on regular tours or searching the internet. Marianne was very familiar with the countries in Africa and the various Safari lodges and arranged a tour around our interests. She spent months narrowing down the choices with the result being a once in a lifetime experience that was well within our budget. She knew what was important to spend money on and what was not. In coordinating the trip the fact that I lived in the United States and Marianne was in South Africa was not a problem. Excellent all around.

Tricia Hacker   –  
United States US
Visited: August 2014 Reviewed: Aug 24, 2015

Email Tricia Hacker

Wonderful time in Africa!

We had great time in Africa last year, we still talk about it all of the time and constantly pull out the pictures to re-live the experience! Having never been to Africa before, we really appreciated Mariannes help with deciding on the best itinerary, picking lodging, and making all of the sometimes complicated intracontinental trael arrangements. I would definately recommend her services to anyone wanting a great trip to Africa.

Richard van Aken   –  
Netherlands NL
Visited: August 2013 Reviewed: Jul 20, 2015

Email Richard van Aken  |  35-50 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

What a great holidays we had !

In 2013 we decided to go on holidays to South Africa and came in contact with Marianne. She helped us sorting out various B&B and hotel accommodations in South Africa and at every address we discovered a different atmosphere but always exceeded our expectations. We travelled from Capetown along the coast to Kruger and the icing of the cake was our last resort. The game resort that Marianne arranged for us was absolutely great and we have gained such great memeories that I am sure that one day we will come back. And if such day comes I will immediately contact her again to be surprised about new undiscovered locations.

Whenever you go to South Africa and you would like to spent time in locations with a unique atmospere and you want to be sure to see the best of the wild life do not hesitate but contact Marianne Birrell.

Jeroen Visited: June 2009 Reviewed: Jul 19, 2015

Surprise, exitement and good value for money

Although Marianne has organised several trips for our family, she time after time manages to find great "personal" camps, where we have spectacular encounters. Swimming elephant in the Zambezi, close encounters with leopard in the Okavango delta or a pride of 22 lion in Pondoro camp near Hoedspruit.
We will for sure ask her to organize our next safari.

Mara   –  
United States US
Visited: August 2014 Reviewed: Jul 17, 2015

50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

Wonderful experience!

My 6 friends and I used Marianne Birrel Safaris to plan our tour. We wanted a customized tour to avoid the huge crowds and giant lodges in the National Parks and Marianne gave us several options from which to choose. We stayed at small yet excellent game lodges in private reserves with extremely knowledgeable and accommodating guides and trackers. The lodge in Victoria falls was gorgeous, as was the B&B in Capetown.
Marianne was with us every step of the way in planning and even gave instructions about whom to wire transfer payment and reservations at the various places. She even checked up on the success of the transfer. As for making flight reservations, she paid attention to flight times and advised us which flights to choose, and even gave detailed instructions on how to work the airline's website!
Marianne was available at all times by phone or email during the entire trip to help with any problems that might crop up, and even arranged a small refund in cash when I inadvertently overpaid one of the lodges.
Our overall experience was awesome and we would all recommend Marianne Birrell Safaris and of course will use her the next time we go!

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