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We have done a number of trips to Africa since our first trip with you several years ago and have always enjoyed very good guides and experiences.  There is something more special, however, about traveling with you.  I think much of it being special to us relates to your depth of experience and knowledge, patience and humour, your knowledge of the photographic aspects, and the fit of our personalities and expectations for the trip with yours…you know we are there to enjoy every aspect of the trip, not just checking off the list of big animals and moving quickly onward. You are willing, even excited, to spend longer days and cover more kilometers with us than any other group in the camp.  You have such great skills in animal and bird identification, behaviour and tracking, and you know that we are willing to spend the time with you to figure out the story and to sit on a sighting, animal or bird, to get the most of the experience.  So, this trip had a number of memorable happenings and sightings that were combinations of your knowledge and experience, long days and distances in the vehicle, interest and investigation, patience, and, yes, that touch of luck that favours those prepared and determined to get the most out of a trip.

Among the memorable happenings, I think of the tracking down of the lioness and her two cubs over a couple of hours of tracking and observing the behaviour of birds, monkey and antelopes. I think of your spotting of the big leopard in the tree and us waiting to see what would happen (actually us dozing while you watched and woke us in time), and your excitement when the puku wandered under the tree and the leopard got ready to jump on it. First time I have seen a guide get so excited he tried to climb on top of a canvas roof vehicle for a better view. I think of us teasing you about finding a Pel’s fishing owl and much later us randomly picking a sausage tree to get out to photograph the flowers on the ground and a Pel’s bursting out of an adjacent tree with you yelling “Pel’s!, Pel’s!” Followed by a cackle of joy and satisfaction at the sighting.  I think of the sighting of wild dogs on the road when they hadn’t been seen in the area in a long, long time.  Not only wild dogs, but the beginnings of a hunt with adults to the sides and young dogs playing in front of us on the road as they tagged along and we tagged along for several hundred meters.  What a great sighting of behaviour’s and pack life!

I think of the standing elephant and other unique elephant behaviour encounters including the “great chase,” where an elephant was quite determined to kill us if she could.  Your knowledge and calm in reacting to that very real threat was very important in getting us safely away.  I could continue with more recollections, but I’ll end with a related event that I think illustrates another aspect of your sensitivity to our overall experience.  Flash forward a few days after the great chase.  Elephants in the road and on both sides at dusk.  We wait for them to clear with the motor and lights off.  It gets dark, really, really dark in Africa.  Elephants in front, on both sides and, now, behind crunching and moving in the brush all around us.  Darkness and silence except for them moving closely around.   You thinking to quietly ask “Is everyone okay?” Barbara admitted she was getting very anxious, perhaps thinking back to the threat of the great chase, but you quietly reassuring her and explaining why it was okay now and that they would move along soon.  Another memorable moment.  What a great trip!  Barbara and I are ready to go to Africa again and, especially, to go with you.  We’ll have to make that happen soon.

– Steve & Barbara Tomasovic

Your photos are wonderful though I must tell you I do not think any photo can really do what we saw justice to what we saw.   It was all beyond my wildest dreams.  I loved every minute of our adventure, well maybe not the close encounters with the hippos. :)   My favourite moments are too many to list… I am hooked and can’t wait to go back. 

– Debi

My 12-day safari with Lee was one of the most amazing travel experiences I’ve ever had.  Our safari took us all over Botswana and ended at Victoria Falls.  We were all blown away by Lee’s impressive knowledge of the land and animals, as well as his magical tracking skills.  And best of all, he was so personable and fun to be with!

– Tamara

This e-book is full of memories of our fabulous safari in South Africa.  Wonderful photos…..and, so much better than ours!  We will treasure it for years to come.   Thanks again for another trip of a lifetime.  We couldn’t have asked for a better safari and I think we saw every mammal and bird on our list plus more.   Lee, as always, we learned so much from a master of the bush.  You are a most knowledgeable and charming guide…truly amazing.   Thank you so much again for everything you did for us.

– Betty & Frank

I want to thank you so much for all your arrangements for us.  Londolozi and MalaMala were marvellous.  They were different enough to really appreciate both.  Bob and I absolutely loved every minute.  The accommodations and the staff at both locations were wonderful.  We really enjoyed the quality of the safari guides and we were very lucky to see everything!  The staff at More Quarters was excellent and very accommodating.  I cannot tell you how truly professional and kind they were to us.  Bob and I are very experienced travellers, not typical tourists.  Please know that we were so very happy with all our arrangements.  Eva, you are great.  You did a wonderful and well thought out South African trip for us.  Thank you again, so much.  If I am very lucky, I’ll be back to Africa a third time.

My best regards to you, to Lee and to your continuing success.

– Arlene

Both Wendell and I wanted to thank you for an incredible trip!  From the moment we set foot in South Africa, every detail was handled beautifully and every experience was something we will never forget.  Lee, you made our adventure unforgettable. Whether it was your explaining what animal’s poop we were looking at, to the unforgettable experience of having the feasting lion get upset at our intrusion, to the different bird calls, to just hanging out and enjoying conversation, we enjoyed every minute of being with you.  Saying good-bye at the airport was having to say good-bye to a new found friend.  A little bittersweet.  Please know that we will not hesitate to refer you to anyone looking for a fabulous experience in Africa.  We might even see you again one day!  I will be forever grateful to our friends, Debbie and Harvey Kalan, for referring us to you.

– Judy Sell

Hi Lee, My party & I are now in Johannesburg Airport waiting for our flight to return home.  We had a great time in Cape Town.  What a very beautiful city!  The Botswana safari experience was very eye opening for all of us.  We shall cherish sweet memories of the lions, elephants, giraffe, buffalo, antelopes, hyena, wild dogs, cheetah…and of course the beautiful leopard we came across at such close distances. The variety of vegetation, the game drive in Vumbura and Mombo, the starry sky, the canal at sunset, and the bonfires at the camps…You’re professional as guide and wonderful as travel companion.  We’re so lucky to have you with us!  A bouquet of thanks to YOU for your excellent service!  Please keep well and may good health & happiness be with you always.  Till we meet again

– E.Cheng

For me, you completely captured the essence of the whole adventure.  I’ve tried to explain to people what a rare privilege it was to be the only visitors in the vast Odzala-Kokoua National Park.  I loved this trip for its uniqueness, challenges, lovely scenery, once-in-a-lifetime animal encounters, and lastly the chance to share it with like-minded people such as yourself.  Thank you again, Lee, for making this adventure so very special for us.

– Barbara

Thank you Eva and Lee for helping us to relive the magic of our African adventure.   The photos are incredibly beautiful and evocative and recapture the awe and the fun of time shared together.  Just last night, we shared these photos with friends…our storytelling and their amazement brought it all back, the joy, the laughter and the wonder, and the gift of being disconnected from the world.

With gratitude to Lee and the staff at Essential Africa,

– Susan

Thank you so much for the lovely hat!!…Our trip was absolutely spectacular. I have wanted to see the mountain gorillas for many years and was not disappointed.   Thanks so much for the gorgeous e-Book – special thanks to you, Lee, for taking shots of us at our gorilla viewings.  I still find it hard to believe that I was actually there. It was an unreal/surreal experience.  I might have to do it againJ.  It’s just so surprising to me that it’s possible to walk into the mountains or drive on to the savannah and see all of the remarkable creatures – I always feel as if I’ve stepped into a dream

– Dawn

I’ve just finished looking at your e-Book of our trip for about the fifth or sixth time.  I absolutely love it!  The pictures are spectacular, and the spot-on stories of our sightings bring back such fond memories…I was wowed by the pictures of the tiny lion cubs at Londolozi.  Those are some of your best baby pictures ever.  The e-Book really highlighted the great diversity of wildlife we saw on this safari.  That was a super picture of the southern ground hornbill in the tree, and I also want to thank you for including that lovely picture of a saddle-billed stork, my favourite African bird.  

I smile every time I think about our bird identification contest at Duba Plains, and our winning membership into the exclusive “111 Club”.  That hat will be my prized possession forever :).   As you know, leopards are my favourites of all the cats.  We couldn’t have asked for better leopard sightings.  It’s hard to pick a favourite when there were so many great sightings.  Pula and her cub at Mombo will always be dear to my heart, but I also loved the brief glimpses we got of the mother with her two small cubs at Londolozi, the mating leopards so close to the vehicle, the mother and cub playing at Vumbura, and the big male leopard with the lechwe at Duba.  LEOPARD SIGHTINGS AT ALL FOUR CAMPS!!  WOW!  I think the most spectacular of your lion pictures were the ones taken at Vumbura of the pride near the water.

The reflections are so clear, and the pictures are outstanding.  I could go on and on.  Trips like these are the reason I keep coming back to Africa.  Thank you again, Lee, for a fabulous experience.  I truly appreciate the effort and attention you put into each trip.  Looking forward to seeing you in October as we begin a new adventure into Kenya.

– Barbara

Thank you so much for the wonderful photo!  I worked with a lovely young woman at Londolozi in the photo lab to “airbrush” and perfect some of my favourite photos and have them printed on canvas.  As I mentioned to Lee, the adventure from beginning to end was quite splendid!  I loved every moment and felt so well taken care of and safe.  The camps I visited were all unique as you know, and all spectacular.

I loved the people who worked there and the wonderful staff… I felt as if I was with my family!  So loving, caring attentive and warm… I was so enchanted and delighted by my experiences.  Londolozi was such a perfect end to the trip! …I thought I had died and gone to heaven… Thank you all SO much and especially to Lee, who was so patient and attentive in guiding me towards what was truly the  most amazing experience of my lifetime (in the travel domain)!  I am not exaggerating when I say that I dreamt of lions, elephants, leopards and all of the other wonderful creatures on the savannah, almost every night for a couple of weeks.  Now, I look at my photos and relish in the wonderful memories of a magnificent time.  I feel so blessed to have had that opportunity.

– Diana Smith

Thank you so much for this absolutely beautiful e-Book.  I am so impressed with everything in it.  It was good to see what I missed on those days when Steve and I stayed behind.  That shot of Dawn and Susan standing by the humongous boulder was pretty impressive.   My favourite shot from the trip has to be the mother cheetah on the kopje at Lamai Serengeti.  What an experience!

Lee, I want to especially thank you for your help and kind consideration of Steve when he was ill.  It truly made the situation so much more bearable for us.  Also, thank you for sharing your pictures with all of us.  You both put a lot of effort into making these trips memorable and life-changing adventures, which we deeply appreciate.

I am so looking forward to the next great adventure you offer to us.

– Barbara

After everyone else’s comments which reflect my own joy with the trip, I will a giant WOW for the book, for the planning, for Lee’s incredible presence, for our group, and the beauty of Africa.  So many thanks.

– Elliot

Great safari and thanks for putting it together.  I’ll never forget some of the things we saw.  At 73 don’t know how many safaris I have left, but if so they will certainly be with you.  You are a great guide and add so much to the overall experience.  Thank your team for the anniversary celebrations, shirt and buff…

– Philing & Linda

Lee, I can’t thank you enough for helping to make our family trip a rousing success.  Your intuition, both on the game drives, and around the hospitality, was priceless!   We made memories for a lifetime.

Please keep in touch!

– Howard

Wow, wow, wow.  What an incredible trip and what a beautiful travel log with pictures that brought me right back into the spirit of our Safari!!  Lee, thank you for capturing the essence of our trip together…your pictures are fantastic.

Until next time!

– Terry

The most amazing trip!  All to your credit:  the preparation, choice of accommodations and locations, travel methods, arrangements for kids, etc., etc.  Could go on forever!  Your professionalism, knowledge and kind way with the kids was so appreciated.  We can never thank you enough.

– Ellen

Great safari and thanks for putting it together.  I’ll never forget some of the things we saw.  At 73 don’t know how many safaris I have left, but if so they will certainly be with you.  You are a great guide and add so much to the overall experience.  Thank your team for the anniversary celebrations, shirt and buff…

– John & Georgia

Our safari was not just the highlight of this year, but probably a favourite amongst all the many wonderful vacations I’ve ever taken.

Thanks for making it so special.

– Evelyn

Thanks, Eva.  Nelis has been amazing.  Lee couldn’t have chosen a better person to guide with us.  We leave today.  It was a wonderful trip.  You planned a perfect itinerary!

– Christina

Woke up to e-Book and wept and smiled at the same time. Can’t thank you all enough for making this happen. 

– Ellen

Thank you so much!!   It truly was another amazing safari and let’s hope we don’t have to wait another ten years…

– Jane