"FANTASTIC customer service and communication! Flexible and Knowledgeable! Highest recommendation!"
Let me preface this review by saying that I rarely use travel agents as I enjoy researching and planning vacations. However, for a bucket list Africa trip, I wanted to make sure it was done right and was at a bit of a loss. Chalo was recommended by a friend who sang Sangeeta’s praises and am happy to report the accolades are well earned. My expectations were exceeded!
The biggest advantage Chalo provides is their knowledge about Africa (in our case, S Africa, Krueger, Namibia) and their incredible on the ground service. Our trip was shortened by one day because United Airlines cancelled our connecting flight (that’s a very different review, lol) and we missed the flight into Johannesburg. Whilst we were hurriedly getting retested for COVID due to expiring test results for S African entry, Sangeeta and team did the Lord’s work notifying various hotels/lodges, reconfiguring tours and itineraries and reticketing intra and intercountry flights (intracountry flight to Krueger, intercountry
to Namibia). Her team did this quickly and with no effort on my part and I appreciated not having to worry about these changes.
Even more critically, Chalo has an extremely reliable agent on the ground in S Africa. Stanley met us at the airport to introduce himself. That alone assured me I was in good hands. However, Stanley’s benefit really came into sharp focus when the COVID testing lab produced “inconclusive” results for my son at 10pm when we were supposed to fly to Namibia at 10am! Even prior to that, Stanley was on the phone really pushing the lab for 3 hours, just to locate the status of our results as they had mistyped our email and the results were lost to the ether. I cannot imagine having to deal with this lab and communicate the quandary. Stanley ended up taking a cab to our hotel at 5:30am in order to personally walk us into the lab at the airport at 6am To make sure we got retested in time for our 10am flight. EXTRAORDINARY SERVICE!
Finally, I know I haven’t referenced the actual itinerary. It was amazing! We loved our safari lodge (Simbavati Amani) and the hotels in Namibia (Sossusvlei Lodge and Olive Tree guesthouse in Windhoek). We had great guides in the safari and the food was spectacular. Sossusvlei was ethereal and magical and I would never have thought about visiting unless Sangeeta had suggested it. However, lots of different travel planners would be able to provide wonderful itineraries – where Chalo stands out is the attention to detail, amazing communication (seriously, they are so quick to respond and happy to entertain any number of questions and changes), and fantastic service in the event of hiccups.
What I thought of us as a bucket list vacation was such an amazing experience, thanks to Chalo, that we are already taking about our next trip to Africa. Not bucket list anymore, it is now my favorite place to visit, and I can’t wait to go back!