9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
AMA Waterways markets this riverboat cruise,but only 4 of the 20 nights was aboard the riverboat. Nonetheless, because of the nature of the trip,and the marketing by AMA, this seemed a good place to post the review. We were traveling to ... Read More
AMA Waterways markets this riverboat cruise,but only 4 of the 20 nights was aboard the riverboat. Nonetheless, because of the nature of the trip,and the marketing by AMA, this seemed a good place to post the review. We were traveling to Cape Town from our second home in Southwest France, so we made our own flight arrangements. Despite this, AMA arranged for a car service to meet us in Cape Town and to take us to our hotel, the Cape Grace. When we arrived at the hotel, the concierge immediately introduced us to the Tour Guide, Jason,who was going to be with us for the next seven days. He was waiting at the hotel and made a point of being available for every arriving passenger. This is typical of the care and thoughtfulness of everyone who was associated with the tour. We were a group of about 28 at this hotel, as most people purchased this extension on the theory that this was their one and only trip to Africa. I hope we were wrong about that. We had several days visiting with the group in Capetown, and were delighted with the sights and information that Jason provided. The Cape Grace is a very nice Leading Hotels property, and we were surprised to find that it was not the very best hotel as we checked into others on the trip.It is in the Victoria and Albert Waterfront redevelopment and is an easy walk away from many restaurants and shops. We then flew to Botswana via Johannesburg. The only problem we encountered, and one which is clearly beyond the control of any tour company, was the need to check in and out of Botwana and Zambia on nearly every day we were on the Zambezi Queen. This added about an hour to several day trips, but we learned to deal with that. During the time on the Zambezi Queen we had several excursions on small boats, thank goodness I am no longer using film cameras, and a day trip into the Chobe National Park. It was interesting that it was arranged that no more than six persons would be in each 10 passenger vehicle in the park so that everyone had a clear view and the chance to see and take photos. We saw several tour groups arranged by other companies which were far less considerate of their passengers. The Zambezi Queen is a converted river barge, and is very pleasant. It is not a super luxurious experience, but it was very nice and made all the more pleasant by its exceptional crew and captain. We were greeted by the crew singing a welcome song, and then they made us feel as if we had been cruising with them for years. They learned our names at once and made certain we were comfortable in every way possible. Incidentally, one of the excursions was to a nearby river village where the crew comes from on two week rotations. No water or other utilities, but a solar panel which was used to recharge the ubiquitous cell phones and television which was tuned to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. After four nights on the Queen we boated and bussed to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. (Three border crossings.) We were at the Victoria Falls Hotel which is another exceptional property , and were able to visit the falls, an elephant rescue and a lion rescue. Somehow, we never looked relaxed in the photographs of us petting a 14 month old lioness. She, on the other hand, just looks bored. From there, we went on to the Kilimanjaro airport. This was a change in plans,made at the last minute, with no extra fees, because there had been a State Department warning for Nairobi. We spend a night near the airport at a another nice hotel, had an interesting ride in the Ngorngoro area the next day, and began our tour of the Lake Myanmara and Ngorongoro parks. Again the hotels were wonderful. We then flew into the Serengeti, not for the small plane or dirt runway averse, and spent five days there with a wonderful tour guide, Adam, and millions of wildebeest, zebras, elephants, and 6 male lions over the five days. These tours are not for young children who would have difficulty with the low noise requirements or restrictions about staying in seats when the animals are walking by in touching distance. On the other end of the spectrum, getting in and out of the boats, range rovers, small aircraft, and transferring from small boats to the river boat were difficult for the mobility impaired among us. While every effort was made to accommodate those issues, several tours were missed by at least one person who felt unable to make some of the transfers.   Read Less

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise