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We have put together some feedback from our lovely holiday, and do let us know if there is anything particular you would like feedback on that we have missed. I hope that you will be able to feel what a great time we had from this. We have just worked through the holiday in chronological order as it is easiest to think what we did then!
Ouirgane Ecolodge - lovely place to stay, a real oasis. The food was good and enormous portions, we came nowhere close to finishing them. Mohammed also had found out what we would be eating at lunchtime with the Berber family and ensured that we had a different menu in the evening which was very thoughtful. Loved the pool, especially as it was so hot. Also appreciated having filtered water available so that we did not have to buy huge amounts of plastic water bottles.
Mohammed was very helpful and quickly was able to sort out a car to take Jessica and Alan to the lunch stop on the day one village trek which made a real difference as otherwise they would have had to miss out on the whole day.
Our guide for the trek, Hussein, was good company. He had good English and was able to chat about all sorts of subjects but was also knowledgeable about the local Berber communities and taught us a few words. Lunch with the Berber family was enjoyable.
Dar Adrar - loved the trip up with the mule! Great location. Quite simple but had everything we needed. Again we liked having filtered water available. Hamid was very helpful and always available to answer our questions, fill up water bottles, make a mint tea upon request. Food good and a vegetarian option was always provided for Emily, portion size more reasonable!
Day trek - with the same guide Hussein as for Ouirgane. Alan, Daniel and Emily went on this as Jessica was not up to a day walk. They had a good time but ideally would have preferred it to be a bit more challenging. However, this was part of the trip that had to be rearranged at the last minute and worked well as part of that. Also, the cook for lunch was deemed to have produced the best food of the trip so far - meatball tagine - and they enjoyed being able to watch him prepare the meal, which was the only time this was possible. It was amazing what he was able to produce with one burner and a tiny knife!
Mountain biking trip was fabulous. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. Girls loved the e-bikes, both these and the mountain bikes were of very good quality which we were impressed by. It was very tough ascent for the three of us on mountain bikes but a great descent. I can’t decide if I would opt for an e-bike or not if we went back as I did have a great sense of achievement at the end of the day but I was exhausted! Our guide (Rashid?) needed to repair Daniels chain which broke and he was able to do this really quickly which was great. Jessica came off her bike and we had to patch her up with some plasters, it was not clear whether our guide carried a first aid kit. We had our own so it was fine but if they don’t carry one it could be worth suggesting that clients carry one themselves. The lunch stop was another good one with a great view over the valley and good food and plenty of water which was required after such a challenging morning!
Riad Sila, Rebali Riads - fabulous villa, fantastic pool. Fatima and Mohammed looked after us very well. The only thing I would suggest is having a filtered water tap available as we did have to buy a lot of water bottles. We ate 3 evenings at the villa and food was good, although sometimes not quite what we were expecting. The Moroccan salad we had as a starter was amazingly delicious. Breakfasts were lovely.
We did a lot of the activities on offer:
Surfing - 2 hour lesson. Three people did this and had a great time. Thoroughly recommended
Cooking lesson with Hayadt and Attila in Essaouira - they didn’t speak much English but our French was sufficient and they were really friendly and chatty. We loved being taken around the souks and buying ingredients. They showed us how to make couscous as we expressed an interest and this was great. Alan was pleased to find someone who took the time to show him exactly how to prepare the mint tea we had been enjoying everywhere! Enjoyed making the tagine but actually it was the other bits that really made the trip.
Quad biking - 1 hour trip down the beach. Was fabulous! Great fun.
Sea had big waves and was great fun for swimming.
Sad to leave!
Riad Dar Hanane - lovely place to stay. Getting there behind the handcart was an experience in itself and we did indeed get lost the first time we went out! Mohammed gave us a little introductory talk over the obligatory mint tea when we arrived at the riad with a simple map and rough outline of where to go and how to find our way back which was very useful. The rooms were fabulous particularly the grand suite room with the mezzanine which the kids had and which was plenty big enough for the three of them to share and not be on top of each other. Breakfasts were delicious, we enjoyed using the pool to cool off in the afternoon and the roof terrace was a great place to relax at the end of the evening.
Half day tour - our guide Mohammed was very friendly with superb English. It was an interesting and enjoyable morning and a good introduction to Marrakech. We really enjoyed being able to see various artisans at work, as well as the guy stoking the hammam fires and being able go into the bakery to see the loaves cooking in the oven. These were things that we couldn’t have done on our own. The lunch at the King’s Tangia restaurant was brilliant, the meat was absolutely delicious and it was different to anything else we had had whilst in Morocco which was a welcome surprise. We had a great morning and are very pleased we did it, but whether it was value for money we can’t quite decide as it was a very expensive option, so any recommendation to friends would come with this caveat.
All transfers worked well with drivers where they were supposed to be at the right time and we were kept informed of timings etc by the relevant hotel person the night before leaving. Mohammed who met us at the airport on arrival and who did our transfer from Ouirgane to Imlil and then the coast to Marrakech was excellent. Mustafa, who was our driver from Imlil to the coast, was safe and courteous but he drove so slowly that the transfer took over an hour longer than it should have and it was starting to get a bit irritating by the end.
I seem to have written quite a bit. Not sure if this is the sort of feedback you are after! We had a fantastic holiday and have been, and will be, talking about it in glowing terms to friends. Morocco is a very interesting and friendly place to visit and has whetted the appetites of the kids to be a bit more adventurous with travel.
Thank you so much for all your help with the arrangements and rearrangements. Our holiday in Morocco was everything we hoped it would be! We have already recommended you to others and will continue to do so.
Jacky W reviewing Toubkal & Valleys Trek on 31 August 2022
We had an absolutely fantastic time, thank you! My comments here contain just very minor things which could have improved it - please don’t take it as any criticism of the holiday which we absolutely loved, but small tweaks which could have improved it even further!
Arrival and transfer were superb - lovely to be met straight off the plane and smoothly transferred straight to the waterfront.
You should note that Lawhill no longer has a dedicated reception - this caused a couple of issues getting into the accommodation and meeting our guide. Just worth letting people know as nothing which wasn’t overcome with a couple of calls to the complex reception.
The accommodation itself was ideal for us - spacious, clean and a great base to relax and go out to dinner.
Our guide from AWOL, Bevan, was first class - really friendly knowledgeable and great with the kids. 10/10!
The tours were a perfect balance for us of interesting stuff for adults and children
If I could change anything from our holiday, I’d have had an extra day at leisure in Cape Town, so much to do in the city itself.
Also worth noting the cable car to Table Mountain seems to be closed during August - just worth noting in advance as we had planned to do that. The aquarium was a good second best though which the kids probably enjoyed more!
Departure was a pain - our car didn’t turn up at 4.00 as per the schedule which was a pain, particularly that early in the morning. On contacting them, they said it has been booked at 4.45 - an extra 45 mins sleep would have been good - just worth double checking those in future.
Transfer to Madikwe was superb again and really easy
Accommodation was good - I guess this might be because we originally booked a couple of years ago, but the bed for the kids was a bit small for a 9 and 11 year old. Our bed was so big however that Chloe just bunked down with us so no problem at all. Food and service was first class.
Our safari guide, Pride, was amazing. I’d recommend a private safari to anyone - we were able to be flexible with times and destinations (for example on one day he picked us up a couple of hours early to we could drive much further into the reserve which was rewarded with some cheetahs, another day we went on an all-dayer rather than morning and evening) - mixing things up to see more made a great experience even better.
Transfer back to Johannesburg was just as easy
Johannesburg hotel was ok - nothing special but for a transfer hotel it did what we needed!
Transfer to and from the resort was seamless
The resort is lovely - food, accommodation and facilities all great. After such a busy start to the holiday we didn’t really take full advantage of all the water sports but anything we did do was really easy and great fun. Would definitely recommend it to others!
For a family like ours the drinks package wouldn’t have been good value so pleased we just went full board (having a few drinks during the day and a bottle of wine with dinner our bill came to about £450)
Just to note a specific plus from the resort: I has some issues with my banking whilst away - the resort waived the fees on my phone call back to the UK to sort it out. Little things like that really make a great impression and reflect so well on the management.
Thank you again for all your work helping us get there in such difficult times. Great memories of a superb holiday for all the family!
Matt W reviewing South Africa Madikwe Safari and Mauritius on 31 August 2022
Well overall it was an amazing trip and we really appreciated the guidance on places to go. On the ground, Victor was very helpful and we liked the mix of places.
The two stand out places and accommodations were Arenal Observatory Lodge and El Remanso - the latter being perfect in so many ways. The day trip to Cocovardo National Park was outstanding.
We enjoyed Tortuguero too - basic accommodation but excellent location and the guide there was outstanding.
Monte Verde was ok - average food, average place to stay.
With hindsight we’d skip Uvita altogether and go to Drakes Bay where snorkelling seems more accessible.
Overall an excellent holiday, which went very smoothly and a good mix of things to do.
Francesca L reviewing Costa Rica Wildlife Holiday on 30 August 2022
I don’t know if you collect feedback but thought it might be useful for you! Happy for you to use any of my comments in testimonials etc.
We had an utterly amazing holiday and firstly I want to thank you for your patience during what was a very frustrating process for all of us / my procrastination, then covid, date changes, flight cancellations / I can’t quite believe we got there in the end and the trip lived up to all our expectations. Our itinerary felt pretty much perfect so thank you for all the advice and steering in the right direction.
Thank you also for your flexibility in terms of allowing us to book certain aspects of our trip independently (Cape Town) and then adding flights at a later date. The flexibility to do this and change dates etc was brilliant.
Originally we intended to self drive, mainly to save cost and then I got nervous about it and we had transfers for the whole trip. Once we were there I was aware that pretty much everyone one was self driving and that the N2 route was actually quite straightforward. In retrospect we could have done self drive however my husband and I both agreed that for us the transfer option was probably best. Although a straightforward route, the N2 is quite a hairy road with lots of trucks and there was a definite etiquette for driving and overtaking. Our son is quite anxious and I think he would have found the driving stressful and so we feel we made the right choice.
It obviously meant that we were not able to do any self drive safari but this did not matter, I would not have wanted to the advantages of being taken with someone who can spot things we would never have seen, imparting huge amounts of knowledge and having the right vehicles for going off road were worth every penny.
St Lucia, this was a great place to start our safari, we did a night drive (highly recommend), a day safari up to Cape Vidal and also a boat trip on the estuary. Would recommend all of it. Our accommodation at Lidiko Lodge was comfortable and they do a lovely breakfast on a gorgeous terrace. The rooms are quite dark and although there was nothing wrong with it, it was probably our least favourite accommodation on our trip.
Ghost Mountain Inn, we arrived here after 4 full on days in Cape Town and then 2 days in St Lucia so were ready for a bit of a rest and it really was lovely. We had lovely rooms, enjoyed the pool, food and did a fantastic trip to visit the local Zulu village and then a morning game drive into Mkhuze park (they have hides here and it was wonderful to watch the animals come to the waterhole to drink) it felt slightly more intimate than watching them from a vehicle.
Rhino River Lodge, undoubtedly the highlight of the trip. It was a wonderful experience from start to finish. The food was lovely, the level of service was amazing (little touches like hot water bottles on your seat at dinner and hot flannels and an aperitif handed to us as we returned from our evening game drive. It was 3/4 star rather than 5 star and the rooms were quite rustic (very comfy beds) but we really liked that (not 5 star people) and felt very comfortable with the children who were made very welcome and there were food options to suit them (although mostly they ate the adult food but nice to have an alternative, simpler option). The ONLY downside is that you can hear the N2 from the lodge and initially it bothered me a bit but actually it was such a fabulous place it didn’t really matter in the end but maybe something to flag to other clients.
Fairlight Beach House – I’m glad we only had 1 night here as actually the weather at this point was not great but it was a great place to gather ourselves before the flight home (I would NOT have wanted to go straight from Rhino River to the airport to fly home). Lovely, super comfortable place to stay and we spent the morning watching dolphins and whales breaching less than 100m from the shore line.
My only regret is that we didn’t make it to Drakensburg Mountains (Rorkes or Fugitives Drift). If I was planning the trip again I probably would just do 2 nights (instead of 3) at Ghost Mountain and add one extra day to give another 2 nights to get to the mountains.
Thank you Lisa and I really hope that we will have the opportunity to do another 'Big Trip' at some point soon and book through you!
Josine B reviewing Value KZN Bush & Beach Safari For Families on 30 August 2022
The trip was great. Thank you!
Summary of key points below. If there is anything else that would be helpful to know please do get in touch again.
Dubai part 1
Airport transfers all ok.
Palace Downtown - really lovely hotel. Very central location. Tastefully decorated. Great pool etc. Direct access to amenities eg mall/fountains etc. We ate lunch there by the pool and the food quality was very good, but we went elsewhere for dinner.
Transfer by Ilios from airport to hotel - really Excellent
Oyster Box - best service I have ever had in a hotel, excellent, food great, rooms great, location great, but only so much to do.
Transfer by Ilios from hotel to Safari - really Excellent
Amakhosi Lodge - excellent. Facilities excellent. Food all fantastic. Very helpful staff. The house we stayed in was really lovely. Spacious, own splash pool, amazing views etc
Safari guides and trackers - excellent - lovely people, could not have done more to be friendly and helpful. Our boys got a sickness bug for 24 hours and they were as helpful as possible about that and so kind and caring
Really hardworking staff - made sure we saw all the key animals. Safari was suitable for children and adults. As we had the house you automatically get your own private Safari vehicle with that which was nice to have.
Transfer by Ilios from Safari to hotel - really excellent.
Oyster Box second time - again - best service I have ever had in a hotel, excellent, food great, rooms great, location great. However I would say that 3 days was probably slightly too much - I think 2 days would be a more suitable amount as beyond the hotel there's not loads to do very locally and although there is lots of security in the town everywhere which is great you do feel a little conscious with guns etc around. Maybe if you had a younger family 3 days would work if by the pool the whole time. But that aside I cannot fault the excellent hotel.
Transfer oyster box to airport - really excellent
Transfer Dubai to Sofitel Downtown - not great. The driver was late so I had to ask an agent from TUI if he had seen him and he ended up calling him for me. Once he found us he didn't really apologise and was very rushed/driving fast etc so ok but not great.
Sofitel Downtown - a good hotel but I would say had a bit more of a corporate feel - so I preferred the Palace one. Breakfast was very good - lots of choice and the staff were all helpful. The pool area was very good. We didn't eat dinner here. It's location was a little further from the mall so not quite as convenient - you could walk along a tunnel for 10/15 mins to get there but we used a taxi.
Emirates flights - all went well. Good flights. Good staff. Airports all ran smoothly in Dubai and South Africa. Only airport that ran less well was Heathrow! Baggage took ages and on the way out check in was long!
Overall though the whole trip worked really well and felt like a good mix of adventure time and relaxation time. I also think having to stop in Dubai anyway added something more to the trip as we saw that city as well as South Africa. For the first Dubai part we stayed in the newer areas and for the second Dubai part we went to the creek and the historical areas and souk areas so that was interesting to see the two sides of the city.
I hope that covers all.
Thanks for your help and I look forward to planning another adventure in the future.
Louise C reviewing Value KZN Bush & Beach Safari For Families on 30 August 2022
Thanks for getting in touch. We had a great time in Namibia, in no particular order, some thoughts:
Oberland Lodge was the accommodation we liked the most: well designed, privacy, good setting, convenient, good food.
Etendeka Mountain Lodge was stunning, in terms of setting, and the tents were the most high end tents I’ve ever stayed in. Dennis shared some spectacular views of the night sky through his telescope which was really interesting.
All our guides were good, professional, knowledgeable, personable. Can’t praise them enough.
A highlight was the catamaran tour, both our boys had this as their top excursion I think. I’d have preferred a tour with a few less people but not a big issue.
Sossusvlei was one of my highlights, climbing the dunes was good. Actually, across the whole holiday, I’d have liked to have done more hiking / walking safaris but that’s probably down to my planning.
Mushara Lodge had excellent service and the staff performed a few African songs after dinner one night, which was lovely. The lodge itself could do with a refresh, in terms of physical product.
The Elegant Guest House was clean and comfortable. And nicely close to Joe’s Beerhouse. Plus it had the best wifi and so a hit with the kids.
The car we got (Toyota Hilux) was excellent, I’m trying to find an excuse to buy a one.
The Cornerstone Guesthouse was probably the least glamourous place we stayed (it was all clean and safe though) but actually the two owners (I forget their names now) gave some of the best/friendliest service.
Logistically everything went off without a hitch, guides showed up on time, all the accommodation was right and they were expecting us. We had some requirements around our son’s medication being refrigerated, everyone was very helpful with this.
I’ll let Sarah chime in with anything I missed and at some stage I think we’ll be in touch about a trip to Botswana Or maybe Peru.
All the best,
Philip A reviewing Highlights of Namibia - Classic Self Drive on 28 July 2022
The trip was fantastic thanks. difficult to really make any suggestions for changes.
Everything ran smoothly from a logistics point of view and all food and accommodation was great. The owner of Pure Riads came and introduced himself while he was visiting and made some recommendations for restaurants etc.
The mountain guide picked the ideal route for our level and was very informative on the journey.
On the return airport pickup from Marrakesh, we initially didn't see the transfer bus and the local contact mobile number did not appear to be in service which might be worth checking but it was no issue as the driver spotted us.
My wife is already dreaming of her next trip with a different group of friends so no doubt I'll be in touch
Chris B reviewing Atlas Valleys & Villages Trek - Value on 27 July 2022
Finally arrived back in Sydney yesterday after a great trip. We all enjoyed Morocco immensely and your organisation was top notch. Some highlights were;
Essaouira, really enjoyed this town and a great introduction to Morocco for us with a more relaxed vibe. The riad we stayed in was fabulous and the female manager Hyat (probably misspelled) couldn't of been more helpful with both suggestions of things to do, places to see and restaurants to eat at. A very friendly team in general and a lovely lady.
The High Atlas, again a real highlight despite the issues with early season snow & ice. The guest house in Imlil was great with again a very friendly owner who was keen to provide as much assistance as possible. The changes to our itinerary were well handled and in the case of the extra night at basecamp post climbing Mt Toubkal, worked in our favour. Only 3 of our group managed the climb due to the icy conditions and those of us who did the summit day needed crampons which were provided free of charge. We were the first group camping at basecamp that year and our preference to do so was accepted without complaint. The only issue I might raise was the lack of anything to sit on in camp, though I guess using the sleeping mats is closer to the Berber tradition. I brought my own mat along which was a good option. Our guide Mohammed was great and really helped us to adapt to the altitude despite some sickness amongst the group. He also managed to get us all through some very difficult ice & snow conditions, putting his body on the line on several occasions when people went flying out of control. This was both on summit day and the prior day when he had to contend with all 6 of us. The food was also excellent and the cook very friendly despite limited English. The whole team worked very well together.
The desert camp was a real experience and very luxurious. Sundowners up on the dunes, the dinners & facilities available and the camel ride were highlights. A long drive was well split by our stays at the Kasbahs which were both fabulous & highly recommended. Hassan & his offsider Khalid were good drivers, friendly and helped us enjoy the whole experience. The excursions along the way were also excellent. The full second day at the desert camp was maybe too much with very high temperatures but they moved us to another cooler camp with shade & more basic facilities during the middle of the day. Again I guess we really got to experience the full nomad lifestyle with a long hiatus during the hottest part of the day.
Marrakesh, again an excellent riad with a nice meal the first night. Good location, very friendly staff and a lovely place to retire to after a day exploring. A very interesting & bustling town.
Chefchaouen, what a wonderful place to spend some time. Another exceptional riad with some great facilities with a perfect location. Again staff were exceptionally friendly & helpful and the city was an absolute pleasure to explore. We all loved this extension & Mustafa our driver was exceptionally helpful as well. We decided to do some trekking 1 day in the nearby Rif Mountains and he was only too happy to drive us there & back through some amazing scenery. He was always concerned for our welfare and even came up to check on us while we were out exploring Chefchaouen.
Tangier, an interesting city and once again the place we stayed was exceptional with a very friendly & helpful French Canadian hostess. The town was a bit more touristy with some issues with touts, 2 nights were enough. Mustafa got us to the ferry up the coast in plenty of time.
A great trip overall and one that we all enjoyed immensely. Thanks for all your organisation & efforts especially after all the Covid delays and civil war made our trip to Ethiopia impossible.
Chris S reviewing 6 Day Toubkal Circuit on 27 July 2022
Sorry for the late reply - I blissfully didn’t check emails while we were away.
Well I must say - THANK YOU. That was a seamlessly organised, mind-blowing trip! It was everything we dreamed of and so much more.
The hotels, people and places were magical. We just loved every single moment of that totally epic adventure.
We will be back in touch when we are ready for our next one!
Thank you so much and well done for such a brilliantly organised trip.
Suzie G reviewing Family Desert Holiday in Morocco on 27 July 2022
It was FANTASTIC! Beautifully organised, everything worked like clockwork. We agreed that we had the best support team ever (and we have experience) - all delightful, very professional and nothing was too much bother.
It clearly couldn't have been a better route, such a wonderful mix of landscapes. And plenty of acclimatisation time. Nonetheless, I was glad of my summit oxygen.
Kit excellent. Double good mattresses made for most comfortable trek camping ever. Tents v good. Mess tent pretty windproof, which was vital for enjoyment. Best camp loo ever!
My favourite day was Shira Cathedral. Amazing.
William M reviewing Kilimanjaro Lemosho Route on 15 April 2020
Fantastic holiday - I think we all really enjoyed ourselves. California is really relaxing, the people we met were lovely, and the scenery is amazing - so huge.
flight - using San Jose airport was a joy. Out of the airport within 30 mins of landing.
car hire - very straight forward.
Copilot - useful. We did download Google maps too, but sometimes the GPS worked better with co-pilot than Google maps (although may have been the phone)
Argonaut hotel - Great location, pleasant staff. Included in resort fee is discounted bike hire (if you get up fast enough to get them) - that was a bonus.
Drive to Auburn - long! we didn't manage to avoid San Francisco rush our - our fault. But a very good idea to get there the night before the rafting, meant the rafting day was much more relaxed.
Holiday Inn - as expected. Nice pool and breakfast was good (and cheap). We quickly learnt that it is really difficult to get food in US after about 8:30 at night, esp in less touristy spots. In n Out Burger an experience.
White water rafting - Our fellow rafters and helmsman (Conner) were good company for the day and we had a great time negotiating rapids, jumping in the water and taking in the scenery. It was all safe without over doing the briefings. Would have been good to have some photos which were only available straight after the trip, rather than on a web site. Nearby Marshall Ward state park was good for non-rafters.
Resort at Squaw Valley - The hotel was amazing. Beautfiul setting. Buffet breakfast in Cascades was a fabulous extravagance - a real treat.
Mountain biking in Tahoe - tremendous. Great bikes, fantastic guide who managed to accommodate both 50+ year old parents and v fit teenage boys. And local knowledge of guide set us up for the rest of the day - recommending places to eat in Truckee and places to visit on Lake Tahoe.
Drive from Lake Tahoe to Yosemite beautiful - well worth going the eastern route so enter Yosemite from East. The drive through the pass was amazing, definitely worth emphasizing that people should make the most of it.
Tenaya Lodge - hotel was a little tired. But we appreciate that Yosemite was getting full by the time we booked. And in fact, it was prob a good thing we were there - as we were out of the smoke in the valley. (The Ferguson Fire began the day we arrived). Sadly after the drive through on arrival, we saw little Yosemite scenery. On the plus side, Tenaya Lodge was cooler than the valley and had less bitey insects.
Walking in Yosemite - guide was excellent. Offered lots of options, and was very informative. Also very personable.
Santa Cruz - great hotel. Lovely city. Organic supermarket, farmers market, Olita's on wharf - all great. The Mystery Spot was hilarious. The surf school were generous and allowed us to keep the boards for several hours after the lesson, as the waves were not that great the two days we were there.
Andrew C reviewing The Ultimate California Adventure on 26 July 2018
Here are 4 write ups on the White Water rafting trip we had in July 2013
From my 14 year old boy:
To put it simply I have never had so much fun in my life. For the first two days I enjoyed a break from the otherwise high tempo country of America. We saw animals that none of us had seen before, swam in waters in which all of us had a ball and lay in the perfect heat of the Utah sun. This incredible experience of food and rest was then followed by the grand finale of white water rafting! The anxiety and nervousness soon turned into a thrill so extraordinary that I have sworn to myself that I will feel that incredible thrill again. Looking back, it was probably the most perfect three days that I can remember. So I mean this genuinely when I say, you must go on this holiday!
From my 12 year old girl:
It was so much fun. We saw coyotes, bears, river otter and more. The people were so nice and the food was amazing . The first two days were calm, but then on the last day we hit the rapids! That was the most fun. We bounced up and down, up and down and got completely soaked. It was a moment I will never forget.
From my 11 year old son:
The scenery was absolutely fantastic, and the water was calm and slightly warm. This was to begin with but after that we got into fantastic rapids. I was scared to begin with but the sparkling feeling in my head and the butterflies in my tummy gave me a great sense of achievement when I had done it!
There were five of us and we had two boats and two brilliant instructors for three of the most incredible days. Calm waters as we either sat in the boats which carried all our food and equipment or we gently floated with our feet out in front of us as we past the million year old rocks of changing earthy colours. The tempo changes: the water becomes white, we all put helmets on and then the rapids begin and our stomachs reach the sky, it really was seriously scary, I looked around at my family and they were all having a ball. Time disappeared fast and we all felt so pleased with ourselves as we had completed the last rapid. I felt rather proud! We were fed like Kings and we all played our parts in making the three days incredible ones we will never forget. Tracking the stars, searching for scorpions and spotting bears all added to the whole experience.
Camilla D reviewing Grand American Family Adventure in Utah on 06 October 2014
Following on from our conversation yesterday - I just wanted to reiterate how delighted we were - and what a huge success the holiday was. It was a bit of a monumental trip for us - and it is not easy travelling with the various ages of the children - but it went very well. The advice and recommendations were great - the hotels were all as you described, and in the right place etc (although as I said I would not have stayed in Yosemite Lodge)
The journey was well paced, the satnav guide was invaluable (although I used the free version - even so I would not have known about it without you mentioning it and it was a godsend)
It was great. And you were incredibly patient with my endless badgering and questions - for which many thanks.
The rafting in particular was fantastic. The guides actually forgot our tents - which was quite funny - Kit clearly felt a thin nylon tent was protection against mountain lions, but once we established that the tent made no difference - he was fine. The food rafting was delicious - although I have to say spectacularly wasteful. 35 pancakes for 6 people for breakfast??? With bacon, fruit, eggs etc etc as well? The children were appalled at how much was thrown away - but I guess that is a the company's thing..
The only thing it would have been good to have been tipped off in the notes about was how much nicer the food is in Yosemite village - rather than the dreary depressing hotel canteen. Maybe other guests would try the dining room - but there was such a long wait for a table - we didn't bother. The buses are very good - and the food options are much better in the village - which we didn't realise until the second night - the guide told us actually. I would definitely put that in the notes for other guests - we didn't try the formal dining room - so maybe that is good - but bypass the canteen.
We loved the arches park - having never heard of it - it was mind blowing. And the wonderful platinum hotel in Las Vegas was fabulous. Great location, gorgeous rooms, esp after the motel style dark rooms in Moab and Gouldings.
I had been toying with the idea of sitting in a launderette in Monument Valley - but figured the Navajo prices would be astronomical. Imagine my delight to find I had not one but TWO washing machines and dryers - complete with washing powder - in the hotel/apartments in Las Vegas. Perfect. We left LV with completely clean clothes, ready for the rest of the holiday. A small but very delightful point!
It was all great. Thank you so much for your efforts, and patience, you definitely gave us a holiday perfectly tailored to US - fitting the older children in really well, and pacing everything so perfectly. I will be in touch again!!
Kathryn M reviewing Highlights of America's South West on 06 October 2014
Some highlights: I really enjoyed the rodeo - I had expected it to be touristy & tacky, but I actually thought it was great. Boulder - although we didn't do too much there, the drive up was amazing & we really liked the lodge & the peacefulness (apart from a huge storm!). The Burr Trail Grill next door was excellent - really lovely & friendly staff & the best apple pie ever. We went to Willis Creek, 12 miles south of Escalante - this was a slot canyon that you can walk through easily & choose to do as much or as little as you like (the slots are 100metres long, so it's easy to walk out or turn back when you've had enough). Particular highlight for everyone was the Fiery Furnace Walk - Mike was absolutely fantastic with Rory & Lucy. It was perfect for Rory as he loves rock scrambling, so Mike encouraged that. Lucy was very nervous, but he helped her overcome her fears. & he was a very interesting person to spend some time with - I think we finished near to midday! We really liked Red Cliffs in Moab & I liked Moab itself - nice to get some fresh fruit & veg after too many burgers!
Some things we'd probably change: I know I said I didn't want to go to Vegas, but I didn't ask the children & I think they might have liked it! It would probably have saved the longer flight & connections from Seattle & it looks as if the drive from Vegas is similar in distance as from SLC.
I think Beverley would have liked longer in some places - we're used to holidays where we stay in one place, so living out of a suitcase was a little different for us.
I'm also in two minds about the rafting. We were not helped by the weather where we had storms & rain all night until around 9am. Lucy got very cold so didn't enjoy it after the first 2 rapids. Rory however, really enjoyed himself. Overall though, it just seemed that it was a 2 day trip that could have been condensed into 1 day. Again, I think if the weather was different, we would have enjoyed chilling out a little more, but as it was & for the price, it was a little disappointing. We met another family while rafting who had booked through you - they were from Hampshire.
Overall, great adventure, good places to stay, amazing scenery, we met some interesting people, saw some amazing storms (hail the size of golf balls! We were told August is their 'monsoon season') & had a great time, so thank you for putting it together for us. Hopefully we'll be back some time for another adventure…I'm still sizing up Toubkal with Rory in a year or two.
Beverley C reviewing Grand American Family Adventure in Utah on 06 October 2014