Traveler Spotlight: Mike and Sue Challenger Enjoy a South African SafariJune 6, 2023 • By THIRDHOME
Mike and Sue Challenger have been members of the Club since 2021. Keep reading to hear about their extraordinary South African safari experience by THIRDHOME Adventures & Custom Travel.
Read their full testimonial below:
Whoever said, “You can’t teach old dogs new tricks,” hasn’t been on a THIRDHOME Adventure, arranged by Liz Bates, Director Adventures & Custom Travel. At 70+, we had never been on a 4-wheeler (quad as they call them) in our lives, but that all changed at Leobo Private Reserve, the first leg of our three segments Adventure in South Africa.
Late Tuesday afternoon, Heidi, co-manager with her husband, Chris, took three of us out for our first ride around the upper savannah, and animal activity at that hour was prolific. Giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, kudos, warthogs, springbok, and impalas were everywhere. We loved every minute and looked forward to our next ride, which came on Thursday afternoon when we went for a 17 km ride down the rugged road to the hippo pond. And we did all of that just hours before our helicopter ride around the entire property to get an up-close aerial view of all the animals.
We experienced lunch out in the bush and dinner under the stars. We were busy from morning to night every day with more new things to do than we ever had done in one week. We would say our favorite experiences here were the quads and the helicopter ride witnessing all the many animals from above, and the sweeping river views. This experience at Leobo could not have been accomplished without Heidi and Chris and their excellent support staff. They spent many long hours making sure everything was perfect and that we were all having a fabulous time.
The second leg of our trip was to Cape Town and Table Mountain, the Wine Country, Cape Hope, and the South African Penguins. Everything was perfect, from meals and accommodations to our tour guide, Luci, and everything in between. The views from Table Mountain and Cape Hope were extraordinary, the wine countryside was beautiful, and the wines were delicious. Of course, our favorite experience here was the penguins, which were beyond adorable. Liz once again outdid herself on accommodations, activities, and lunches.
For our third and final segment, we went to Camdeboo Lodge. Wow, the adventures just keep continuing; nonstop action of early morning game drives to a shortcut over and down the mountain that literally had us on the edge of our seats and the edge of the road while returning to the lodge in the evening. On the first day, we encountered the Lions—that was a WOW moment for us! It was good to know they were not there to eat us but leisurely enjoy the day. The female cheetah, however, was not to be outdone. We slowly walked over to the bush with our guides, where she had her cubs. We didn’t see the cubs, but the cheetah was sitting there regally posing and letting us soak up her beauty. The second day was just as extraordinary. We had close encounters with elephants, rhinos, zebras, giraffes, vervet monkeys, and much more. We were so excited to see more of the Big Five. The staff and guides at Camdeboo were wonderful.
Lastly, to add to this once-in-a-lifetime trip and all its memories were the extraordinary new friends we made on this Adventure! Wade and Debbi were absolutely perfect hosts. We can’t wait for everyone to get together again for a reunion and experience more. We are all hooked on travel and are always looking for the next new experience and WOW moment. This Safari Adventure definitely gets a 5++. We feel it was definitely over the top and our favorite trip from all the places we have visited all over the world.
Seeking a personally curated South African safari experience for your own private group of family and friends? Collaborate with Liz Bates.
What are other members saying about this incredible South African safari experience?
“We had such an amazing time with the group in South Africa! The entire trip was AWESOME!! We loved the trip! Our favorite Leobo experience was the helicopter ride! Absolutely beautiful and thrilling at the same time! Ruth’s WOW moment was capturing the video of giraffe running with the helicopter so close she felt like she could touch their ears! Favorite Cape Town experience was the coastal drive to the Cape of Good Hope. Views were breathtaking and the hike by the lighthouse was fantastic! We would rate the safari experience at a 5, actually higher!! And YES, we would like a reunion experience with the same group. Everybody, including us had so much fun. And we have made new friends–including with Wade and Debbi!! We all became friends very quickly and enjoyed our time together!“– Frank V. Member since 2021.
“I must say I really wasn’t sure exactly what to expect on our trip to South Africa but what I can say it was beyond my expectations!!! It was an unbelievable trip with several amazing experiences that makes it hard to pick just one. We have traveled with groups before where we didn’t know most of the other people but this group we met on this trip were all amazing and wonderful and everyone got along so well. I really feel that all of us from this group will continue to stay in touch with each other and try to meet each other again whenever possible. It was so nice to see people helping each other if some could not keep up and everyone was very encouraging to help people try new things! This trip was so well organized with never a lack of something to do. If anyone asks what kind of trips Thirdhome organizes I would be very happy to say only the very best!“– Ruth V. Member since 2021.
“WOW WOW WOW!!!! I can’t say enough about the fabulous trip at Leobo Private Reserve. From the moment we landed in South Africa, we had a smile on our faces. Leobo was beyond impressive…the adventures were unique, the food was scrumptious, the accommodations and views were breathtaking and of course, the company was extraordinary! This was the most memorable trip Milt & I have ever been on. We look forward to experiencing more THIRDHOME Adventures in the future.“– Dee and Milt W. Members since 2015.
“If life is a tapestry made of our experiences and memories, we would like to thank the Thirdhome family for adding bold colors and golden threads to our fabric. The trip to South Africa put together by Debbi, Wade, and Liz was a dream come true, full of unforgettable people and events. We can’t wait for the next Thirdhome Adventure!!!– Neal and Jamie H. Members since 2015.