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Reviews

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A once in a lifetime opportunity we would recommend to anyone…”

Lucy and Rick Lyne have recently returned from their two-week honeymoon to Kenya. The newlyweds started their unforgettable trip at Satao Elerai Camp, taking in the breath-taking views of Mount Kilimanjaro and exploring Amboseli National Park, before moving on to Karen Blixen Camp, where they shared their new surroundings with a large hippo pod and were overwhelmed by the abundance of big game in the awesome Masai Mara.

“Our first night was spent in Satao Elerai Camp in the conservancy just outside Amboseli National Park. We woke in the morning, opened the tent ‘doors’ and were greeted by the most stunning view of the mighty Mount Kilimanjaro across the border in Tanzania. We had a full day game drive into the National Park, where we saw a huge number of elephants, as well as giraffes, baboons and lions. The safari guide was excellent as were all the staff at the camp and the food was delicious!

After two nights at Satao Elerai, it was time to move on and we were taken back to Nairobi for an incredible lunch at the infamous ‘Carnivore’ restaurant where we gorged ourselves on every kind of meat you can think of before catching our flight to the Mara North Conservancy. The flight was an experience in itself with beautiful views over the landscapes below. After an hour or so we landed on the airstrip and were transferred to our home for the next four nights; Karen Blixen Camp. Situated right on the banks of the Mara River, our neighbours were around 50 hippos lazing in the shallow waters below.

We had both been on safaris in several African game parks before, but nothing prepared us for what we experienced over the next few days in the Masai Mara. In just one day we were lucky enough to see three leopards, as well as a mother and her three two-week old cubs and two cheetahs hunting a herd of wildebeest. Returning to the camp was always a pleasure, as the attentive staff were beyond helpful, assisting with anything we required. The permanent ‘tents’ were more like luxury hotel rooms and the outside shower was a unique experience! A once in a lifetime opportunity we would recommend to anyone was the hot air balloon flight with Skyship Co over the National Park at sunrise – a completely different experience to game viewing on the ground and finishing with the most amazing champagne breakfast in the middle of the bush was just incredible.

Our stay at Karen Blixen Camp was over too quickly and it was then on to Diani Beach for seven nights of pure relaxation by the white sands of the Indian Ocean.”

Lucy and Rick Lyne
Destination: Safaris in Kenya
A Wonderful Holiday - Thank you!

Hi There!

My wife and I would just like to say a massive ‘Thank You’ to everyone involved in making our recent trip to Kenya so fantastic. The sights, the sounds, the
laughter and emotional tears will live long in our memories.

Everyone contributed in so many ways to make this an adventure we will never forget but special mention needs to go to Nimrod, Salome, Mohammed and Theresa  at Pinewood;  Paul on reception and Dixon our driver at Satao Camp, along with everyone involved at Southern Cross Safaris.

Again, thanks everyone – we will be back!

Dave & Alison Fox
Destination: Safaris in Kenya
Relaxing in Mauritius

During my time in Mauritius I stayed at the Tamassa Resort on an all inclusive basis. It was the perfect place to relax, eat, drink and play golf! It's great value for money as well.

Martin Edwards
Destination: Safaris in Tanzania
The trip was fantastic and lived up to our expectations!

The service from Bench was excellent - thank you Rachel!

At all times we were met by representatives of the companies used by Bench - even when flights were late!

All accommodation was excellent, service on both safaris was excellent and Zanzibar was a dream!

Thank you for your advice - flying to the Masai Mara was a great idea!

We saw all the animals including two different leopards and an aardvark during the day!

Susan and Michael Miller
Destination: Safaris in Kenya
We would certainly recommend Southern Cross to others!

The service and advice prior to departure was thorough - Thanks Hanna!

Accommodation throughout our trip was first class - we thoroughly enjoyed all venues. The service and food was great as well.

Highlights were seeing the multitude of animals close up! Our guide was a fund of knowledge! We all look forward to another trip with Bench in the future.

Jane & Colin Oliver
Destination: Safaris in Kenya
We wanted an ‘African experience’ and it was well delivered!

Everything Bench organised went like clockwork! Plus the people involved with accommodation, transfers and activities were all very competent and helpful!

We wanted an 'African experience' and it was well delivered!

The highlight has to be the animals but the passion for and knowledge of and love of animals by the staff/guides in the parks and lodges made it all the more memorable. And the South African wine (red & white) was a real bonus (and surprise) - I will be looking for it in Sydney!

P.S Thank-you Norman

Patrick and Diana Dwyer
Destination: Safaris in Kenya
Hot air balloon watching the wildebeest migration!

An excellent tour (Migration Safari)! The food and accommodation at Masai Mara Sarova and Lion Hill were exceptional. The staff were very friendly. I have never seen so many animals up close! This was attributed to our driver - Thomas - who was able to read animal behaviour and position the vehicle so as to get the best viewing and photographs. A highlight was a hot air balloon flight over the Masai Mara watching the migration of the wildebeest - for our 46th wedding anniversary including singing and a cake. I thoroughly recommend this tour!

Dennis & Denise Overton
Destination: Safaris in Kenya
Simply ‘The Best African Experience’

I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful work Bench International did in helping me prepare our once-in-a-lifetime holiday – which included the once-in-a-lifetime event of proposing to my girlfriend!


From the moment I met Norman, our Bench International ‘African travel expert’, I thanked my lucky stars that I’d been fortunate enough to meet someone who understood what I was hoping to achieve whilst on our African trip! I had every confidence in his ability, knowledge and helpful attitude towards accommodating every detail and maximising our experience!
My partner and I embarked on a fairly extensive 5-week African adventure, visiting the vast safari lands and wild animals of East Africa, the unique luxury of Zanzibar, the majestic Victoria Falls and finishing with a week-long trip along the Garden Route and a few days in Cape Town, South Africa!


The Kenyan and Tanzanian safaris, each lasting one week, were fantastic. This was my third safari holiday and by far the best. The luxurious lodges alone were a highlight! Thanks to the tour companies used, we were fortunate to see all the major animals (including a leopard and it’s cub with a kill) and the great migration in action across these unique landscapes
Zanzibar provided the perfect post-safari luxury recovery location. It’s pretty hard to beat white sand beaches, perfect sunsets, great food and ‘sun-downers’ for five days!

The Victoria Falls section provided further highlights - the falls themselves, experiencing an African elephant ride and walking with lion cubs was truly magical!


Arriving in Cape Town I was reminded that it is one of the most captivating cities in the world. It was here that I planned to propose. Six months before our departure, the planning started and Norman was instrumental in organising every detail of my ‘engagement day’ – which included hiring a 1939 convertible Cadillac, delivering us to a ‘surprise’ gourmet picnic in the spectacularly scenic Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, a ‘surprise’ Scottish bagpiper and even a secret photographer! Everything was planned meticulously and the day was simply perfect! My new fiancé’s reaction was as rewarding as any man could ask for!   


Since returning we have reminisced many times and will certainly use Bench International for further African adventures. We would recommend your services to anyone interested in seeing the best that Africa has to offer. During our holiday we even discovered the beautiful Franschhoek winery area in South Africa and plan to marry there next year! Perfect – you really couldn’t ask for more!

Jason Brown
Destination: Safaris in Kenya
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