Cindy Visits South Africa, Vic Falls and Botswana

Cindy has returned from her first visit to Africa!

Over the span of two weeks, Cindy visited three countries: South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Moving from place to place isn’t as easy as it was only a year or two ago, and Cindy had her share of added adventure, overcoming one canceled flight, seven different COVID Tests and extended time with border officials while documents were checked.

Even with the extra stresses, the trip was amazing. Cindy’s notes on the properties and camps she visited are below. 

 Like so many of us, what Cindy thought would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, is very likely to be the first-of-a-lifetime. Only a week after being home, Cindy’s already mapping out where in Africa to visit next. 


Ellerman House

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Johannesburg, South Africa

Formerly the private estate of the Oppenheimer family. Gated, exclusive compound situated in the outskirts of Johannesburg with beautiful gardens. We could not see or hear the city of Johannesburg.
Amazing collection of antiques, statuaries, and African art throughout the property, guest rooms, villas and suites.
Hotel driver alerted the front desk that our flight was delayed and the chef stayed late to prepare our dinner after the restaurant closed for the evening.
Spa Manager personally went to the shopping center to purchase swimsuit for Kim when she learned it was not packed.
Covered outdoor pool in garden setting is where you wait to be collected for spa treatments.
House Doctor came to our room to conduct Covid test before we departed.
Cozy, wood burning fireplaces throughout. Great for girlfriends, great for couples.
Same driver transported us back to airport.


We arrived at this remote lodge after a very scenic 25 minute flight in a small plane from Maun, Botswana. That airstrip scene with lion and lioness waiting to greet us will forever be with me.
From airstrip, we were taken to the lodge by boat where a dozen staff members lined the dock to welcome us and give an orientation.
Four passenger Land Cruisers allowed us to spread out and have clear viewing of wildlife with plenty of space for cameras, equipment, and more F&B!
Double decker boats allowed us to see down into the Okavango Delta and hippos galore on water safaris.
Mokoro safari put us eye level with their incredible birds.
We had the same guide and tracker each day. We planned our days’ schedules with them as we went.
Our guide brought us coffee at 6am to wake us up and then walked us through camp to vehicles to get our drive started. You could conduct a wildlife tour on the network of boardwalks alone!
It is winter there now so we had a fire every night.
Sundowners were held on the boat or in the bush. Always amazing and abundant!
Laundry was picked up in the morning and back the same afternoon, freshly pressed and hung in the dressing room.
There are 12 suites in all. We stayed in the Water Lilly Suite (a 1,900 square foot comfortable home overlooking the wilderness), completely stocked with any snacks and beverages we could desire.

Every suite is unique and touring them was like reading an annual subscription of Interior Design Magazine.
Boma dinner here with history of Botswana was very interesting.
Felt like this was most appropriate for couples, friends, or families with teens

Outstanding wildlife here. We saw greater quantities of animals here than anywhere else.

Their safari vehicles held more people with tiered seating.
Electric boats and safari vehicles.
Water draws animals in and there is always water here.
Felt like families would love this lodge. In fact, I toured their family suite while I was there. It has its own plunge pool.
Female guides at this lodge. They are pushing for gender equality and have a formal training program to get more ladies into guide positions.
We followed their live webcam for months leading up to the trip. Remember to check it before lunch, our time.


Arrival here is by boat – which is like a mini water safari in itself!

13 luxury tented suites sleep 2-5 people each and have their own plunge pool, outdoor shower, and deck. These houses are over 1,100 square feet and well appointed.
Doctor came to the lodge for Covid testing
Water safaris here are even better than land – and land was pretty incredible!
Guide also gave our tour of Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls River Lodge tree houses
These six Treehouse Suites are located on their own private island right on Zambezi River and include a personal butler.
This is an ultra-exclusive stay including two suites that have rooftop starbeds!

Capetown, South Africa

Stunning hotel – very private, ultra-exclusive. Like visiting a grand home.
13 guests rooms and two villas.
Sits right on the Atlantic Ocean with views of Cape Town
Extensive collection of modern art throughout – shared areas, sleeping rooms and art gallery
Hundreds of books in the libraries to loan. Many of them collector’s.
Snack pantry to grab homemade sweets and beverages to go
9,000+ bottle wine cellar available for private tours and tastings
Gin trolley to greet sunset daily
Virtuoso guests receive brandy and chocolate tasting as amenity
Doctor comes to hotel to test for Covid

Sitting on a marina near the V&A Waterfront, this resort is like a city resort and an island resort all on the same property.
We stayed in an island room near the spa and pool. We were a quick walk over to the restaurants.
Very comprehensive kids program on site
They are in the midst of a renovation – but you could not even tell the workers were in the building working.
Couples will love the amazing bar in the center
Families will love the suites and kids program
Friends will love the proximity to all the fun shopping at the Waterfront and touring table mountain.

“I love this place  – but more, I love the people here…” 

Cindy Heeter


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