These are some of the latest independent reviews of Compass Odyssey posted on SafariBookings.com by our travellers. We are always striving to stay on top of our game and are keen to know what is (and isn’t) working on our journeys. We therefore greatly value the opinions of our travellers and receiving their feedback is an essential spoke within the wheels of Compass Odyssey.
This is my second safari booked with Darren “Crusty” & Kate Humphries of Compass Odyssey. Crusty has put together a team that brings a level of expertise, attention to detail, & knowledge that are unmatched. They meticulously plan out your personalized safari to ensure it’s exactly what YOU want and take care of all the details (attraction reservations, flights while in Africa, lodges/camps, etc.) so you can relax and enjoy your holiday. Before arrival, you are provided a VERY clear & concise dossier that lays out everything you need to know about your safari.
A bit about my safari. It started with a short stay in Zimbabwe with a day trip to Zambia where I “lived on the edge” at Devil’s Pool in Victoria Falls. If it’s not on your list… it should be. 😉 Delicious dinners @ the Boma & The Lookout Cafe (The ostrich is fabulous!). Then it was off to Cape Town, where I had 3 of the most incredible days that included Table Mountain, Robben Island, Cape of Good Hope, Cape Penguins, and so much more. The next stop is the bush of Botswana, both in the Kalahari Desert & Okavango Delta. I was treated to lions, leopards, kudu, eland, zebra, elephants, and giraffes. I was lucky enough to witness the birth of a wildebeest and watch in awe as it took its first steps.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention and thank my primary guides & hosts while on holiday. Alan/guide in Joburg; Mortimer, Ruth, & family/guides in Zimbabwe; Garth/guide, Utah, Ivan, & Sean/hosts – Tintagel Guest House in South Africa; Leana & Cornel/hosts – Thamalakane River Lodge in Botswana; bush guides, Happy, Cindy, Simon, Bonno, & Bathusi. They are some of the most knowledgeable and amazing people I have ever met. They ensured I was well-taken care of from the moment I landed in Joburg until I had to leave for home.
Thank you, Crusty, Kate, & Compass Odyssey for another magical safari!!
Right from the start Compass Odyssey was the obvious choice. Communication with Darren and Kate was a breeze, they were super responsive & gave the right amount of information to keep us informed but not overwhelmed. They were happy to customize our trip & also gave us different budgeting options to keep us in our range. Their attention to detail is what really gave me confidence, and allowed our group of 4 friends to have an amazing trip!
We spent time in Vic Falls (perfect gateway to Africa – the Zambezi river is a must!) and then went on to Botswana with time in Chobe and the edge of the Okavango Delta. Transit was so smooth, and we were really well taken care of. Food, drinks, game drives and boat cruises were all so special, and every person we met was so welcoming and hospitable.
The Compass Odyssey team have a fantastic network of people that they work with, and their knowledge of this region is priceless. I highly recommend them!
After reading all the 5 star reviews about Compass Odyssey, I decided to write them an email saying that they are the company I would like to deal with regarding an African Safari for my wife and I. Choosing this company was the best thing I could have done!! We have just returned from the trip of a lifetime to Africa thanks to the expert travel planning skills of Darren and Kate. We spent 12 days in South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana.
My first email to Compass Odyssey was back in June 2021 during the height of Covid and travel was almost impossible. I indicated that we would like to visit Kruger/Zambezi River/Victoria Falls/Chobe NP/Okavango Delta in September/October 2022 for between 10-14 days, hopefully Covid restrictions would be over by then. From this limited information Darren and Kate put together a wonderful trip for us which we will always remember.
Our safari started and ended in Johannesburg, with 3 days in Kruger National Park, 3 days in Victoria Falls, 3 days in Chobe National Park and 3 days in the Okavango Delta, before flying back to Johannesburg. The whole trip went like clockwork and every place we stayed was perfect for us. (We also spent 2 days on either side of our safari in Johannesburg to ensure some relaxation time on either end of our safari, and ensure that missed or late flights from the US were not a problem).
Our email communications with Darren and Kate during the 15 months leading up to our trip was absolutely first class – all my emails were answered promptly, usually within 24 hours, and I never felt any pressure at all to commit to anything during those long 15 months. The attention to detail in our pre-trip agenda was fantastic, from what travel documents were required, current Covid requirements and restrictions in the different countries, flight details, pickup times, meeting places, transfer names and times, Victoria Falls activities, etc, etc.
As for the safari itself…there were so many highlights. We saw the Big Five while we were at Kruger but the three that top my list were:
1. Being about 30 feet from watching 8 lions feasting on a recent cape buffalo kill…apparently there were 18 lions gorging themselves at this kill and some were just hiding and relaxing in the grass after having their fill This was at Chobe NP.
2. Again, being up close and personal watching 3 lionesses nursing 10 baby lions about 2 months old. Once they’d had their fill they just rolled over on their backs and chilled, taking no notice of their viewing audience. This was at Okavango Delta.
3. Following a leopard walking through some grass and climbing a dead tree where it continued to pose for us as we closed in and took pictures of this magnificent animal. This was also at Okavango Delta.
Add to these seeing wild dogs, hyenas and jackals at Kruger, rhinos with babies on the Rhino Walk, the magnificence of Victoria Falls, being up close and personal with crocodiles, elephants and hippos, unbelievable sunsets like you see in National Geographic, and so many other highlights. I have almost 2,500 photos from this trip.
All of the people we met on our trip were great, extremely friendly, and could not do enough for us.
I cannot emphasize how much we enjoyed this trip that Darren and Kate planned for us – it was wonderful and I highly recommend Compass Odyssey for anyone thinking about booking a safari.
We chose Compass Odyssey’s 14 day, 13 night trip as it was exactly what we were looking for. Dealing with Darren was a joy. He was very personable and tailored his initial package to correspond with the flights we already had booked for travel to South Africa. We did 4 nights in Cape Town, 3 nights in Franschhoek in the winelands region, 2 nights at Senalala Lodge (for game drives) in the Klaserie Private Game Reserve (Kruger), 2 nights in Victoria Falls and 2 nights in Botswana by the Chobe River (for river and game drives).
The tour was private and everything was planned for us down to the smallest detail. Upon landing in Cape Town we were picked up by Keith our guide for the next 6 days. He was super friendly and very knowledgeable about the sights we were visiting and highly recommended.
At Senalala Safari Lodge we did morning and evening game drives and the animals we saw were beyond our expectations. There are only 6 guest rooms and we were treated as a family, eating our meals together (including the managers and guides). It was a wonderful experience.
In Victoria Falls we were picked up at the airport by Mortimer, toured the falls on both the Zambia and Zimbabwe side. We also did a helicopter tour over the Falls and up and down the Zambezi River. Mortimer took us across the borders which we were grateful for as there is a lot activity at the border crossings (trucks, people, etc). We really enjoyed his company as well. We stayed at Batonka Guest Lodge in Victoria Falls.
Chobe River (a 2 hour drive from Victoria Falls) is a special place which is home to hundreds of elephant, impala, hippos, crocodile to name a few animals. It was amazing to watch herds of elephants swim across from the mainland to the islands and back daily. We stayed at Chobe River lodge right on the river. This is a lovely intimate lodge and our guide Tefo was outstanding. We did morning game drives and evening river safaris.
To summarize, all of the accommodations, guides and local flights Darren coordinated were top notch. He totally prepared us for every move we made during our safari and we would highly recommend his company and tours. Well done Darren!
I feel so fortunate that all my hours of online research into a safari company lead me to Compass Odyssey. From the initial booking, to years of delays due to the pandemic, to re-booking, and finally the safari experience itself, Darren and Kate were always quick to respond to any questions and concerns and did everything they could to make sure my family and I were able to fulfill our safari dream.
It would be wrong for me to say that our safari was exactly as described. In fact, it exceeded our expectations at every step of the way. Multiple times during the trip my husband and I looked at each other in awe and wondered “Is this really happening?!?”. Even our moody teenagers were impressed. This was hands down the best family vacation we have ever had.
Our itinerary was perfectly balanced between a variety of activities and downtime; our local contacts and guides were friendly, experienced, and extremely knowledgable; and our accommodations were perfect.
I have already recommended Compass Odyssey to many of my friends and would without hesitation use them for future safari bookings. If you’ve spent as much time researching a safari company as I did, you can rest now and let Darren, Kate, and Compass Odyssey look after you from here.
Elvis was the consummate guide- knowledgeable, companionable, and eager to show us Namibia. Every aspect of our Compass Odyssey tour was impeccably arranged. The level and extent of our pre-tour communication with Darren was remarkable- our regular tour company (OAT) could not hold a candle to the service and flexibility demonstrated by Compass Odyssey, and we would gladly travel with the company again. Our experiences ranged from the haunting, majestic dunes to the glorious seashore to the wildlife rich Etosha National Park- truly the adventure of a lifetime. And we had traveled to Africa 4 times previously! I’m just glad we found out about Compass Odyssey and were able to travel with them. The 4 of us in our little group had a fabulous time, and it was absolutely a terrific value. The only drawback was the time spent transiting from one area to the next on very dusty roads.
From the offset the communication with Darren was very smooth. Fast, reactive and to the point. We told him where and when we would land and depart from. We told him what we absolutely wanted to see (Victoria Falls…) and the things that one goes to Africa for (safaris…). We spoke about our budget range and our needs (shared room, vegetarian meals…). From there he organised the smoothest and most interesting trip i may have had. And i am a fairly well traveled person.
Connections between various locations were very smooth. Each location had something different to offer with its own personality. Over our 10 days trip across South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana .. we never felt tired of moving, never waited for too long between 2 trips. Each lodge and location had something very unique to offer and every lodge was a different experience. People were lovely and the team working with Darren in various locations, picking up travelers and making their trip the smooth experience we lived are all great individuals.
Only praises for Darren and his team. If you are going to Africa be certain you will have the experience of a life time with them. We certainly did !