Average User Rating
Email Terry Moss | 65+ years of age | Experience level: first safari
Totally Best Safari Experience
I found Marianne Birrell Safaris through an extensive research of a dozen companies. Based on other reviews, and a query to Marianne, I selected her company to organize our safaris. I can proudly say that the choice was one of the best decisions I ever made. She developed a program that exceeded our wildest dreams.
Marianne started the process with a series of questions designed to help her determine what we wanted to do. It worked beyond our imagination. We ended up with safaris in three different environments and a visit to Victoria Falls. We conducted safaris on a private game reserve in Sabi Sand, South Africa that allowed us to go off road and get within a few feet of animals to include big cats; a combination river cruise and land drives with in Chobe, Botswana; and a completely immersed in nature experience in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. In all cases, lodging at the camps was first rate, the services of each completely satisfactory (reviews written 13 and 14 May in Trip Advisor on each). In all cases, the coordination to get us from each location to the next was nearly flawless. We had a minor hiccup on one occasion, through no fault of her own, but Marianne jumped on it right away even while on a short holiday to get it resolved.
Marianne also patiently fielded hundreds of our questions so completely that we ran into no surprises during our 3 1/2 weeks in Africa. The information sheets she provided were also critical to our preparation. Bottom line, we were completely prepared for the safaris.
Her efforts did not end with just the safaris. We spent our first week in the Cape Town region. She arranged a terrific guest house and tours of two wineries for us along with providing a large number of tips on what to see and do in the region. Lastly, she arranged a guest house for us on returning back to Johannesburg before flying back home.
In essence, Marianne organized a vacation of a lifetime to near perfection. I would not hesitate to give anyone our strongest recommendation to use Marianne to plan and organize safaris in the southern parts of Africa.
Email Brian | 35-50 years of age | Experience level: first safari
We recently got back from Idube Game Reserve in Sabi Sand in later January and had the most amazing experience. The staff was accommodating and so friendly, the food and accommodations where 5 stars, we saw the big 5 a few times over and were so close to the animals, Rob & Mark were knowledgeable, friendly and great to spend 4 days with. Marianne went above and beyond to ensure we had the best trip. She was extremely responsive, friendly and put together a once in a lifetime experience!!! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!
Email Lesley and Paul | 35-50 years of age | Experience level: first safari
Brilliant Safari and Cape Town Experience!
We had an amazing time on our recent trip to South Africa arranged by Marianne Birrell Safaris . We fell in love with both the Mt. Nelson Hotel and the &Beyond Ngala Safari Lodge. The staff at the "Nellie" went out of their way to help us with all kinds of crazy requests, including assistance with shipping two large boxes of African art we purchased. Further, we had a flight leaving at midnight, and they kindly offered the hotel as our home base as we finished up our shopping and errands.
I now consider the &Beyond Ngala Safari Lodge home. The staff, safari guides and trackers all wound their way into our hearts. The attention to details--our wash, favorite kind of wine, reminders to dress warmly, special tours to the kitchens of the lodge and the local community--were all handled with professionalism, kindness, and genuine authenticity.
Thank you for a beautifully planned trip, Marianne. Your choices of the Mt. Nelson Hotel and the Ngala Safari Lodge were brilliant.
Email Paul | 65+ years of age | Experience level: 2-5 safaris
Excellent attentive safari planning that more than met our expectations done with efficiency and gra
Marianne Birrell was just great to work with. She asked what we wanted, provided a list of options and webpages and efficiently guided us to what we wanted. She planned 3 different lodges and game reserves that showed us diverse experiences that were perfect for what we wanted and priced fairly. Her experience and recommendations served us well. We saw an incredible diversity of animals and birds, the big 5, ugly five and magnificent 7 over 11 days. Every day was different but fantastic. She clearly knows her business. Only a small scheduling glitch occurred and she quickly found a solution. The lodges Had beautiful accommodations, great staff, incredible gourmet food and very nice facilities. Very peaceful and relaxing between game drives. They were perfect for us. I think she spent time listening to what we wanted and knew where to place us. This was our 3rd safari in Africa and by far the best. I suspect this will not be our last trip to Africa and the next will be planned by Marianne Birrell. I anyone wanting to see Africa and it’s animals would be in excellent hands if they chose her.
Second safari with Marianne - always great!
our safari to Botswana was our second travel experience under Marianne's guidance, and it was amazing. All the planning was perfect, as usual, but even more important was Marianne's advice in helping us selecting our lodges, based on our preferences on creature comfort and animal viewing. And Botswana did not disappoint, we saw so many animals and different types of landscape (the air-taxi was great fun too). A post-safari follow-up call with Marianne to exchange views on the trip was also highly appreciated - great job Marianne!
Perfectly planned and realized
We were a bit worried with so many destinations and transfers. But every thing was on time with proper transfer.
Choices offered by Marianne were again excellant with 3 days in Cape Town to recuperate from the travel and time lag. Kruger park with Rhino safaris located in the parc was an excellant choice with an excellant guide for a walking safari, Victoria Falls visit and Batonka new lodges were again a perfect choice for us. Chobe river was also a different kind of safari that we enjoyed very much. Finally our stay in the Okavango Delta with elephant so close from the tent and treking in the bush was a perfect choice. In excess all transfer or travelling was on time and adequate. We saw all animals that we wanted to see.
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!
Email Michel | 65+ years of age | Experience level: 2-5 safaris
From day 1, good recommandations to make our trip to our expectations
All 14 days were above expectations, hotels, transfers, lodging, all safaris both on water, by car, walks with rangers, service at all camps, just all perfect. We did six places in 3 countries all smooth. Good job Marianne!
Email Aaron | 35-50 years of age | Experience level: first safari
Everything went as smoothly as possible
I normally do everything myself, but knowing that inside knowledge in Africa is very helpful, this time I went with an agent to set up a few safaris in South Africa. Marianne Birrell set everything up for me better than I could have done it myself after weeks of research. She arranged the flight to and from Hoedspruit, the transfers between camps, and the camp reservations themselves. She did an excellent job choosing service providers, every one of which was top-notch. I'll recommend her without hesitation to anyone going on a safari in East Africa.
Email Hina | 35-50 years of age | Experience level: first safari
Excellent Safari trip thanks to Marianne's attention to detail
We had a wonderful trip in June. Marianne was very responsive to our requests and concerns. She organized a virtually snag-free trip for 2 weeks to a place we'd never been. We enjoyed every moment. Accommodations and travel exceeded our expectations. We have already recommended her to friends and will definitely use her again when we are ready to go back.
- All corporate and/or tour info is provided by Marianne Birrell Safaris, not SafariBookings