A million thanks to my new best friend, Guy Ellis, the CEO of Completely Unique Safaris, for introducing me to the heartbeat of Africa and sharing some of the most beautiful wilderness that exists on earth today. Because of Guy, I have discovered my new passion for safaris and for wanting to explore more of Africa and learn ways that I can contribute to wildlife conservation. As many of you know, I flew to South Africa to have my first African Safari Adventure on the first of November. It has completely touched my soul and I will be forever changed. I will be forever indebted to Guy for sharing these gifts with me. There is a new fire in me and I can’t wait to return and go on another Completely Unique Safari. This has been one of the ultimate journeys of my lifetime.
All safaris are not created equal and I will elaborate. Yes, we have booked some nice safaris for our clients, but now I know the very best way to experience Africa, and that is with Completely Unique Safaris. The name is perfect because that is exactly what you will experience, an exclusive safari that will be personalized for you, authentic, exhilarating, and inspiring. And let me also tell you, the way that Guy Ellis and his family travels, is exactly the way I want to travel from now on. I wish I could be so lucky, to have a staff of caring individuals who cater to every detail and anticipate every need even before I do.
I cannot say enough about the impeccable service, seamless planning, with every detail completely taken care of, in the most thoughtful manner, and the food was a culinary work of art. Every course, every appetizer, every meal, every bite was exquisitely executed and meticulously served whether we were literally dining in the middle of the dunes of the Kalahari, or eating on the verandah of our lodge.
Can you imagine, having a six course gourmet dinner served to you in the middle of the red sand desert? On more than one occasion, we dined under the bright stars of the Kalahari. When you would least expect it, you would walk over a dune and voila’, a tabletop that you only experience in the finest New York restaurants, with the finest wines and infused cocktails, that only Martha Stewart herself could create, would magically appear. Now, I know Guy Ellis could teach Martha a thing or two about entertaining in the middle of nowhere.
Guy Ellis is a genius and visionary with a great mind, who knows how to plan and orchestrate the perfect safari. He creates magical experiences only seen in the movies or written about in travel adventure novels.
Guy has been extremely fortunate to have lived such a privileged life. Due to his wonderous upbringing, he has gained great insight about the finer things in life. Besides the fact that he has gone on almost a thousand safaris and he has stayed in over 280 lodges throughout Africa, he has also had quite an impressive education. He has been going on family safaris since he was about three years old and today he is only 28 years young. Life has so much more in store for this passionate individual. If you are ever fortunate enough to be invited to share one of his exquisitely crafted, one of a kind safari experiences, do not think twice before agreeing to participate. Oh, and by the way, Guy has agreed that I can invite whoever I think is the perfect candidate.
Not only is Guy a proud ambassador for various conservation non profits, but he is the founder of The Leopard ID Project Southern Africa. He has collected data on over 150 leopards and photographed close to 300, but I think he has seen over 500 of these dynamic creatures. Guy contributes a generous portion of every safari to a number of these initiatives and conservation projects.
“Guy Ellis is neither a travel agent nor a tour operator, and you are not a tourist.” He will provide the utmost personal attention at all times and you will embark on a journey that will rival any you have ever heard about. On the CUS website, it also says, “It’s time for no-limit-dreaming in Africa. For a high end experience from the premium partner in a world that is completely unlike any you’ve ever explored before.” I can 100% attest to this fact and I can’t wait to invite my favorite friends and clients to book one of his adventures.
I learned a lot about how safari packages work. There are lodges, tented camps, mobile camps, and villas that you can stay in all over Africa where safaris are offered. For example, we have sent travelers to several Singita Lodges that we feel are some of the nicer accommodations. At these type of lodges, they have a concession with a private area around their lodge and they send their guides in their Rovers to take you on safari. They take you on game drives that depart and return at roughly the same times everyday. You go out for about two and a half hours in the morning and again for about two and a half hours in the afternoon. There are dozens of Rovers in front of you and you drive from animal to animal where you spend fifteen minutes or so observing and off to your next sighting. Properties like Singita do a fine job but these are packaged safaris. Now quite possibly, we could book a CUS Safari and Guy might plan some nights at a Singita Lodge, but the experience would be elevated to a whole new level.
On the Completely Unique Safari that I went on a couple of weeks ago, we woke up early and went out on game drives at about 5:30 in the morning when the animals were just waking up, and we stayed as long as we wanted. Sometimes we were out for seven or eight hours and then we did it all again around five in the afternoon.
We did not just ride in a ten acre radius of our lodge, following a caravan of Land Rovers, stopping to view an animal for a limited time. We watched as long as we wanted. We actually tracked specific species every time we went on a drive, with the help of a very experienced tracker, named BT, who sat on the front of the rover in his special fold down seat. Searching for the specific species was like CIS Africa, tracking the prints and checking the droppings, and broken twigs to find our prize of the day to photograph with our professional lenses that Guy provided. It was exciting to have a real tracker and an extremely well educated guide named Jami, stopping the Rover while checking the many different prints, and explaining which direction the herd was traveling, and how many were in the pack or how large they were, adults and babies. The we could view them as long as we wanted, and then go climb a mountain to check out ancient artwork etched in stone. We would stop and have freshly pressed Kenyan coffee with Amarullo and cookies to warm us up for our next adventure.
Everything was exciting and we couldn’t wait to see what was hiding behind the next bush, or who would be springing across our path, as we traversed over aardvark burrows and dodged wildebeest while they were chasing antelope.
Guy Ellis knows his safaris and he has special relationships with the owners of the very best lodges who grant him special status to do whatever he wants. He has cultivated lists of the best guides and trackers in specific locations. Guy receives carte blanche preferences and permissions to have experiences that no other operators are allowed. With this extra latitude, Guy and his travelers can experience the wildlife the way no one else can offer, on your time frame and in a way to meet your expectations of the most exclusive safari.
During the entire week in the Kalahari, we only saw two Rovers at the same time when we all met up to view a rare sighting of a pangolin. In Guy’s entire life going on safaris, he had never seen a pangolin and we saw one on our first safari, how special! These are the types of special moments you enjoy on a Completely Unique Safari.
There were so many extra luxuries that we were treated to during the week: wine tastings, unlimited spa treatments, secrets & surprises in the desert, Guy’s culinary creations, use of professional camera equipment and exclusive experiences that I do not want to spoil if you are luck enough to go one day.
As expressed on their website, “A Completely Unique Safari is a voyage that cannot be had anywhere else, with anyone else, anywhere in the world. From the first moment you step off the plane into the warm African breeze, expect to be overwhelmed by this remarkable continent and enveloped in its mysteries, beauty, landscapes and legend.”
What do you give people with unlimited means, something that money cannot buy? You give them a Completely Unique Safari and leave the rest to Guy Ellis.
“You’ll safari like a billionaire – whether or not you are one, and that’s the special part. You’ll not encounter anything even vaguely resembling a package safari holiday.” as noted on the Completely Unique Safaris web page. I can fully attest to this as well.