If my trip turns out half as well as the planning of it has I will be delighted. Philippa has gone over and above any expectations I had to plan an amazing trip. She took all my wish list items into account and kept a careful eye o budget. Roll on September!
Overall, Philippa did a terrific job of helping us plan our visit to South Africa. Most of the itinerary (particularly the safari portion at Founders' Lodge) was on point, and surpassed our expectations. Below is some of our feedback/constructive criticism, where we thought things could have been improved:
- Our guide, Noel, was great! Super knowledgable and accommodating to our needs.
- Table Mountain - we would have appreciated a heads-up/warning about the massive wait to take the cable car up AND down (about 1.5 hours each way), particularly during the peak time that we went. This took up the entire afternoon/evening that we went, and don't see how this could have been part of a morning tour (maybe if we had gone first thing in the morning when there were fewer visitors? Even then, the wait may have been insane to come back down). Also, the tickets purchased for us were 6 adults, and we noted lower-cost child tickets could have been purchased for the 3 children.
- We would've liked to tour the Waterfront diamond museum (but it was closed when we wanted to go, due to Christmas holiday hours). Did not like the Military museum as much.
- Our Christmas Eve dinner reservations were at a restaurant that closed, and we were not notified! We showed up (with cranky kids) at the restaurant in time for our reservation only to discover the restaurant was no longer there, and had to scramble to salvage our Christmas Eve plans.
- Christmas Day - the set menu at Belthazar was too much food for our children (ages 9-15). We ended up ordering a la carte (ended up being lower cost) and need to obtain a refund for the difference in cost.
- Only the adults ended up going on the wine tour, despite original plans to include the children .
- Accommodations were amazing.
- While some of the hotels/lodging were able to provide a couple of adapters, our group of 6 needed more (which we ended up purchasing on our own). I understand a reasonable balance must be achieved to disconnect from our phones/electronics and enjoy the trip/wonderful surroundings, but a few extra adapters would have made everyone very happy! Especially in this day and age where mobile phones are used to take and share pictures. Might we suggest giving every client (upon arrival in South Africa) an adapter with the Giltedge logo/ad on it - then this won't be an issue during the stay, and it's great/easy advertising for Giltedge.
- During the intensive planning phase of the 3-6 months leading up to the trip, I would have liked to see a one-page "snaphshot" summarizing where we would be staying/accommodations, restaurant bookings, tours planned/sites to visit, etc. I felt that without this snapshot (where it's easy to see everything as it stands), I was making decisions on tours and restaurants on a standalone and piece-meal basis, and without a sense of whether a certain tour would make sense for just the adults vs. including the children, or if there were any sites that we wanted to see, and on which day, etc.
- All this being said, we had a wonderful time, with much gratitude to Philippa and Giltedge!
Great service and communication.
Very detail oriented - kept in amazing contact throughout the trip. James was so attentive and super helpful. We will return to Angama Mara- great recommendation for safari.
Philippa was excellent. My wife and I wanted to do Africa for our honeymoon but did not have any idea where to start. I gave Philippa 3 requirements:
2.) Wine country
3.) End on a beach
She deliverd on all 3 and then some. Philippa helped design our trip so that not only did each stage become more relaxing, but also made it so the stages made logical sense geographically (never went out of our way).
We received some bad news upon our arrival in Cape Town, and Philippa was kind enough to send us a beautiful flower bouquet. She also helped me throughout the trip navigate customary tipping, close out open bills, etc.
Great experience working with Giltedge from start to finish. Philippa was on top of everything from start to finish. She was willing to integrate elements of our two week trip that I had planned with a number of activities and locations. I would definitely use her and Giltedge again.
I couldn't ever image such a great service. Philippa has organized the trip of our lives, eveyrthing according to what we requested. We've had every minute of the travel full of lovely inputs, interesting experiences, great moments, undescriptible feelings... Our guides have been fantastic, kind, patient, no rush at any moment, leaving us fully enjoy what we were living. The lodges and hotels chosen have been charm, comfortable, clean, with awesome staff and very professinal services... If you ever go to South Africa no doubt Giltedge is your agengy :)
This is the second trip I do with Giltedge, through Philippa. The first one was with my whole family, planned months in advance, and it was incredible (we went to Botswana and Zimbabwe). This one was with my parents, and we went to Kenya, near the Masai Mara for 4 nights. The trip was organized last minute, and everything went incredibly well! Once again, it was a dream-like experience, and everyone, from Philippa to the drivers to the waiters to the guides were incredible. I will definitely write to Philippa again if we do another African trip, and I will recommend Giltedge to everyone that I meet.
The Neptune Mara Rianta hotel was perfect. It is in the middle of the Mara North Conservancy, and just a few minutes from the Masai Mara National Park. We saw so many amazing animals. Everyone was great.
I had already planned a trip with Philippa Lawrence last year, when I went to Botswana and Zimbabwe with my family, and she had been amazing. Now, as a last-minute idea, we wanted to go to Kenya. Philippa was incredible, working around-the-clock to get us the bookings in time and working around our weird schedules, despite me writing to her four days before the trip. She was truly incredible!
Philippa was fantastic to work with! She worked and reworked our itinerary until it was perfect for us. After multiple emails and phone calls, and lots of patience on her part, I don’t think anyone could have come up with a better trip!
From getting off the plane to being dropped back off at the airport, everything was all taken care of!
Its the third time I request Giltedge services and Philippa Lawrence keeps excelling herself going the extra mile to make sure she meets budget and request never giving up
We knew this would be a big trip! The staff at Giltedge listened to what we’d like to do, offered suggestions and were mindful of our expenses. I don’t think we could have imagined a better, smoothies, overall happier experience!
Very well planned. Love the places suggested especially Botswana.
Great knowledge of the opportunities and experiences available for our trip. The initial recommendations were spot on and there was a great amount of information shared with us to evaluate the options.