Sangeeta Prasad, Chalo Africa Tours Pvt. Ltd. - Virginia, USA
Hope you're finally getting a little time to breathe after all your back-to-back safaris.
Niki & Nina join me in wanting to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for showing us this very special corner of the world through your eyes. Your deep respect and affection for the flora and fauna of the park were evident every minute we spent together and wholly transmitted to us by the time we said goodbye.
I am not sure where to begin listing all the special moments - there were so many - but even apart from our insane luck with the dogs, the moments that remain etched in my mind are those 2 ele interactions with the big bulls. The one big guy scratching himself on the tree by the pan while you spoke so gently to him. He was listening intently to your words and I could literally feel his soft rumbles in my chest. And then the other big fellow who trusted you enough to approach us without even breaking his stride. He was listening carefully to you too and he looked happy to say hello.
How remarkable were these moments, especially in light of all the stories we hear about the 'belligerent Gonarezhou elephants'. I loved the fact that you approach the eles with deep respect - leaving it to them entirely whether they wanted to interact or move away. It was fascinating to see that almost every time they chose to remain with us.
From the fresh cooked oatmeal on top of the Chilojo cliffs to teasing poor Scott about the perils of appropriating that last chocolate biscuit, from our warthog encounter on foot to the day of the 500 kudus - we have so much we can look back upon and enjoy. Not to mention that Nina has developed a Pavlovian response to the word 'baboon'. The moment we say the word or see a baboon photo, she wags her finger and says "Yaaa" and I feel like we're back in Gonarezhou with you, she imitates you so well :)
I have asked Rosemary to bring you the doggies from Chishakwe and she has promised she will. Your 'hounds' were magical. I still feel sorry for that poor impala ewe, though. Poor thing - she just waited too long. But that one dog jumping up and down like a pogo stick to keep an eye on the crocs was hilarious. As was that one fellow who was chasing the impala and turned to look at us mid-leap :)
Many thanks for all this and so much more. Our thanks also go to Scott who was a trooper throughout and such a valuable addition to our party. Not sure which one of you is having a better time with the other :)
Thank you, Rawana, for your superlative menus, though my scale at home wishes you'd done a horrible job. And of course, thank you to Steady & crew for their unstinting attention.
I have started my report on Safaritalk. Just finished the SVC portion but I will send you the link as soon as I get to you.
Take care and I am plotting the repeat already.
Gabrielle, Todd, Johnson and Jacob Emerson - USA
Hi Ant - I’m sorry you had to reach out first, I hit the ground running as we have a big event which started the day after we returned and I haven’t had two minutes to put my thoughts down.
First I want to thank you SO MUCH for making our experience in Africa unforgettable. It was the best trip we have ever been on, truly a trip of a life time. Your passion for Zimbabwe, the animals, birds and plant life was infectious, and we all loved learning what you were willing to teach. We had experiences with you that I know very few people get to have. It will never get old looking at the picture of Johnson having his morning coffee with Bull Elephants at the watering hole, sharing the beach with 60 Elephants as they came down for their evening drink while behind us a mother hippo and her new born ventured out of the river to eat, or standing close enough to a stampeding herd of Cape Buffalo that you could feel the ground shake. Todd’s favorite story to tell is when the cow elephant yelled at us on the beach; he always adds how he watched the moon go from one horizon to the next, not sleeping a wink protecting his family.
Thank you for listening when we spoke about what we wanted our vacation to look like, you were spot on with everything. Your camp couldn’t have been more perfect. I cried when we first arrived and I stood in the dining tent and looked out over the river and saw the beautiful place we would get to spend the next 5 days. The hospitality and attention to detail from your team was really appreciated. The other accommodations were perfect as well, all beautiful, intimate and unique. When I found out we were the lucky ones getting to have dinner poolside with candle light at Ivory Lodge I was touched that you made that happen. Every day was an experience, and we loved them all.
The kids will never forget this vacation it was perfect for them and have already said they’d like to go back and will definitely take their families when they have one, I’ll be tagging along.
Ant, I can’t say enough good things about you, you are known as the “Elephant Whisperer” around here and are a big part of our stories.
Lots of love and admiration
What Guests have to say - 2014/15
Anthony & Helene Donohoe - Harare
Spending four days on a camping safari in Gonarezhou with Ant Kaschula and his apprentice, Scott Slatter was a truly wonderful and magical experience. Absolutely the best food I have ever eaten in the bush, along with lovely evenings around a campfire in the riverbed. Truly knowledgeable and interesting guides; friendly and helpful camp staff and an efficiently run and very comfortable camp made this a trip that we shall absolutely 100% repeat in the not too distant future. Thank you Ant and Scott for such a fun time and thank you Rawana for the best, best food ever.
Garrick & Annette D'Silva - Hong Kong
We are back home in body but the spirit is still out there somewhere in the African bush. I found that I was moving slower on the return,reluctant to leave the blue skies,open spaces and heady mix of sights,sounds and smells of Africa,but all things must end.
This is to thank you for sharing your world of Gonarezhou with us.
This park is lucky to have such an avid participant in its well being...that was very apparent to both Annette and I. We had 8 memorable days and are blessed to have seen this unspoiled Eden,it's solitude and remoteness is palpable and hope that it stays that way.
Thanks to you for tirelessly showing it to us and thanks to Scott,Steady,Brighton and Cosmos.
Please convey our thanks to them.
Garth Thompson - Harare
Dear Ant and Rawana,
Thank you very much for so many things from our recent safari together, most of all for re igniting a flame for The Gonarezhou which I am embarrassed not to have been back to for so many decades!Having heard so much about poaching in that Park I could not believe how much wildlife we encountered in the five days I was there with you! I can quite honestly say it was about twice as much as in Mana Pools at this time of year. I was quite astounded!
The successful partnership between the Frankfurt Zoological Society and the Department of National Parks in Gonarezhou is testimony to the volumes of wildlife we encountered, an obvious spin off from their anti poaching efforts. While some of the wildlife was slightly skittish it gave off a sense of wild and unhabituated, not something you find in many safari areas any longer.
I had forgotten how scenic that Park is and its diversity in mammal and bird species, habitat and stunning topography!
Those cliffs with their ever changing light and colour displays make a perfect back drop for all that we encountered. Seldom was there a waking hour when we didn't have at least one elephant along the Runde River visible from your camp, not to mention all the other species we managed to spot when back at the mess tent. Talking of which your food and presentation was faultless and difficult to believe it came from such a modest kitchen. Your staff, so pleasant and efficient in all that they did for us. Your vehicle, reliable and very cleverly designed especially for photographers. Your vast knowledge and passion for the area is without equal.
Your earthy camp gave us all the comfort we could desire and went into making it a true wildlife experience where I felt we were not 'spectators' of the environment but 'participants'. However the highlight for me was seeing a maximum of only one other vehicle per day, seeing so few humans in a Park with so much is unheard of!
Congratulations for having the foresight and belief in opening up a safari operation in The Gonarezhou nearly a decade ago. I look forward to doing your Walking Safari there someday soon.
I wish you and Rawana all the success you deserve!
Sincere thanks once again.
Jeremy & Angela Foster - Seattle, USA
There is so much to say to you in thanks for all your work to make our visit so perfect – know that the simple word, thank-you, conveys a sincere and deep appreciation for every facet of our time with you, your family + crew.
Jim Brown - Harare
An unforgettable walking Safari in Gonarezhou with Zimbabwe's up and coming premier guide. Ant is one of the most knowledgable and enthusiastic guides I have ever met in many walking safaris throughout Africa, his dedication and respect for this amazing wilderness area is incredible and I look forward to our next adventure with him.
Allan Kelly - Sydney, Australia
MY CAMP UNDER AFRICA'S SKY
Give me rough and rustic,
Down to earth and simple,
Give me an outdoor shower,
Long drop loo,
And a canvas tent for two,
With the wind blowing through,
No walls surround me,
No roof above,
Just the sky,
And the bush,
That I love.
When it rains I get wet,
When it's dry
So am I,
When it's hot
In the stream
I can lie,
Then I walk back to camp,
With my shirt cool and damp,
When I get there,
Already it's dry.
Give me a dining room
Under the stars,
That the wind off the river
Where we sit and commune,
By the new crescent moon,
As we feast on the beautiful view.
The things we regard as essential,
I am shedding as each day goes by,
Just give me the breeze off the Runde,
At my camp under Africa's sky.
Catherine & John Smith - Oregon, USA
Dear Rawana, Ant, Tassia & Hugo,
Our stay with you at Gonarezhou Bushcamp has been the highlight of our visit to Africa. We are grateful to you and your staff for giving us such a beautiful & fascinating experience. Above all, we have enjoyed feeling like part of the family with all the delight of your great children, Tassia & Hugo plus the amazing conversations about our lives. Oh, those evenings under the stars & mornings filled with birdsong will get equal memory to all that we have seen & learned. Wow!
With great affection,
Lloyd Camp, United Kingdom
I am now back in the UK after a bit of travelling and take this opportunity to thank you very much for the Gonarezhou experience.
Many thanks for a wonderful and extremely professional experience. That first sight of the Chilojo Cliffs was absolutely breathtaking, and I was quite overcome by the view as walked down the elephant-dung pathway into camp and the river opened up before us. I loved the walking: all of it, perhaps along the cliff tops the most, although that morning along the south bank was magnificent too. Moments engrained in my memory are the 09.20 civet (bizarre!), the leaping kudu, a glistening wet scorpion emerging from your mouth (nice trick!), and every single sunset. I thought that the game viewing, although perhaps a little sparse, was varied and interesting, and your knowledge of every detail wrt the wilderness is impressive and entertaining. It really took the pressure off me, which I appreciate: I always try to link up with guides who are masters of their domains, and you are certainly one of those. It is an absorbing and reflective place, and I am very glad that it has found people like you to love it and protect it.
The food, incidentally, was very good: please tell Rawana that. It is nice to find some healthy grub out in the bush and to get away from the lodge stodge that we so often find on safari. Given the fact that we were on a walking trip, I didn’t expect to encounter so much fresh food so well presented: nicely done!
Thanks also for your attention with Seba. I think particularly here of the baobab bangles. He is a young man who knows everything, but you showed him the attention he wanted in a professional and caring way, and he responded warmly to the braiding projects you encouraged him with. He was still showing them off when we reached ORT in Johannesburg.
The entire party loved Gonarezhou, and Charly wants to return there sometime; probably 2016. He was very complimentary about your operation, which says much given that he is not a man of many words. He is given to gentle wilderness walking where he can trust the guides to protect and occasionally entertain him while he muses upon things as he strolls along; and that is exactly what you gave him.
In summary: Gonarezhou Bushcamps and Gonarezhou ROCK!
Lloyd Camp - Tour leader and safari guide; Guide trainer; African itinerary specialist www.bluecranetourism.com
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