what our guests have to say

Hello Susanne, Daniela and staff,

Sorry for the delay, I am still trying to adjust from my wonderful vacation. I would like to let you know that we thoroughly enjoyed the trip and are truly impressed with the itinerary and package you put together for us. You all were thorough with the planning and everything went off without incident.  All the activities and attractions you had for us were perfect! We truly feel like we got to experience a lot of South Africa in the time we were there. I cannot believe all the activities we did and how diverse the landscapes were from cosmopolitan type feel at the V&A waterfront, hustle and bustle of the city in the city centre (a mini NYC), to natural waterfalls and potholes at Lisbon falls and other spots along the Panoramic route.

We truly enjoyed having you all plan our birthday celebration vacation and loved that you all have employed the most pleasant, down to earth and knowledgeable tour guide, Anna. In addition to the planning, booking and organizing  you ladies did, along with your emails and the constant communication we have been in and your responsiveness (which I truly appreciate as I am extremely detailed), having Anna as our guide was the cherry on top!

Thank you for the warm welcome to your beautiful country (along with the handy and thoughtful welcome gifts). I cannot wait to come back. While Tanzania and Ghana are next on my trip to Africa, I know I will be back to SA. We have already had people ask us who booked our trip. And my co-workers are eager for me to return and share our trip and pics.


Tanisha and family


February 2019

Every day – a journey on its own, filled with so much adventure

Thanks to MATAKATAKA we were able to experience Africa with all our senses – without any stress & and in the comfort of a private guide! If you are searching for exactly that, we can highly recommend this tour operator! Thanks to Daniela Mates who made this (and much more!) possible for us.
We have travelled to Africa many times before. But Dani showed & taught us so much in those 18 days of travelling, that it exceeded all of our previous trips combined! The fact that we could communicate in German with one another, made it even easier for us.
We explored the Pafuri region in the North of Kruger National Park, went further South and finished with the Panorama Route. Our personal favorite was the secluded Northern part of Kruger.
We like to enjoy a good mix of diverse days, sometimes simple, sometimes luxurious which doesn’t mean less attractive. Our guide Dani spoilt us with a traditional South African Braai (BBQ) under the starlit Milky Way with a glass of wine in our hands – just how we imagined Africa to be. Dani showed us animals on our daily game drives which we would have never spotted on our own.
Before the journey we thought about how it might be, travelling with a stranger and spending so much time with each other. Would that work out for us? We compared the pros and cons of a relaxed, private tour and a self-driving trip. Fortunately, we choose the first option. We would have completely underestimated the long distances between the parks and were glad that Dani was driving, giving us the opportunity for a nap and to relax. So we were well rested and ready for the next adventure once we arrived at the next destination.
Who dares wins, one says: it was our personal lottery jackpot!
We got to know such an emphatic and humorous human being & appreciated “our” Dani so much! Her job is her passion for sure. Even before we told her our needs and wishes, she had picked up on them already and did her utmost to fulfill them. Her immense knowledge left us in awe and we learnt to appreciate the little things as much as the big ones.
She managed to awaken our interest in birds and she could name every single one of them! When a bird flew by Dani knew straight away which one it was, even from far away. Mind-blowing!
We enjoyed our trip to the fullest. If necessary Dani solved discrepancies with the lodges or national parks upfront. Always with a smile on her face and the right tone she put a smile on everyone’s faces.
South Africa without “our” guide? Unimaginable!

Andy + Susanna, Switzerland

September 2018

Riding a horse surrounded by wild animals is an unforgettable experience. Doing this with Daniela makes the experience even better ! In December 2017, I went on a horseback safari with 7 other people and we all agreed that we were very lucky to have her as a guide. Daniela is a warm, smiling and always in a good mood person who shares her passion for South Africa with a lot of pleasure and generosity. We learned so much about the bush and the animals we saw as giraffes, zebras, hippopotamuses… She is very professionnal and will do everything she can to make you happy. For a few days, the rain disrupted the safari but we could still enjoy our holidays thanks to Daniela who had organized other activities such as visiting a traditionnal village. Riding not far from a rhinoceros can be scary but Daniela makes you feel safe. She always made sure we are safe and we never felt in danger. Something we really appreciated too is that she was also really attentive to the well-being of our horses and tried her best to not disturb the wild animals. For all these reasons, the week we spent with her was a magical experience and we left her with many tears in our eyes… Personnally, she made me fall so much in love with South Africa that I will do another tour with her in September. I already know that is going to be AMAZING !

Sophie Marchand,FRANCE

October 2017

Dear Daniela,

Blown away by this unforgettable adventure & experience we had to say Good Bye to Bushriver Lodge & our fabulous guide Anna. Thanks to your organization & Anna’s guidance and company, our days were absolutely perfect & clearly exceeded our high expectations. We still can’t believe, what you guys managed to pack into these 3.5 days!!! We are truly thankful for everything you have done for us and no doubt: we will recommend you without hesitation! We hope to enjoy your service & the great hospitality at Bushriver Lodge soon again.

The 3 boys from Munich

Uli, Florian, Daniel
October/November 2016

Dear Daniela,

We had such an incredible time! The lodges were fantastic! Teresa’s & my favorite was the Bushwillow Collection in Hluhluwe. Also absolutely outstanding was Travessia Lodge & Naara Eco Lodge in Mozambique. And even the hotel „The Concierge“ in Durban was special. All in all: the accommodation chosen by you was excellent. During this 2 weeks we were able to see so many different places and get so many different impressions (which we still have to process) that it is difficult to say, what we liked the most. But one thing we are all sure of: We definitely enjoyed Wessel’s company! His calm and balanced nature of dealing with people and situations was inspiring! It seemed like nothing could work him up at all! He explained everything with great patience and calmness and we all felt well looked after & cared for. Thanks again Wessel! In retrospect it might have been better to skip a stop or another in order to spend more quality time at one place. Sometimes the distances we had to drive were a little too long but we will know it better for the next time. I am sure this was not the last journey to South Africa. Once again many thanks for the great organization and Wessel’s outstanding company. We really had a fabulous time!

Greetings to you & Wessel

Monika, Erich, Sophie & Teresa
July/August 2016

We spent the most fantastic couple of days with Daniela, Wessel and the MaTakaTaka team in November 2015! 

We are seasoned and regular travellers in Southern Africa with about 6-8 weeks in the bush every year for over 5 years. So naturally we thought we would not learn much new when we arrived at Bushriver Lodge.
testimonial1How wrong we were! The two days we went walking and driving with Daniela in the Hoedspruit area were unbelievably filled with interesting facts and knowledge. She made us aware of many many details, like how to read tracks, droppings and burrows that we certainly had seen before – but now we understood much better how to read and understand them. 

Just an example: Before, we would see a lion track and be happy. Now, we see a lion track and know how big the animal is, how long ago it passed, was s/he in a hurry and what might be the reason for the hurry. Amazing how many stories “the bush” will tell you, if you know how to listen. And Daniela taught us how to listen. 

She is a walking encyclopedia of Fauna and Flora of the region – fluent in English and German. And she clearly loves the bush! She is a great, entertaining person as well (ask her about funny local games!). 
And then there is Wessel, who is the loveliest and most helpful host you can imagine (and a great chef)! When we had a small problem with our own car, he took care of it whilst we were off, tracking elephant and birds and having a swim under a beautiful waterfall in the meantime. 

After our experience with the MaTakaTaka team, we will never see Africa in the same light! It is now much bigger and even more amazing than before. And we will certainly be back for more – because it is addictive!

Thank you, guys!

Mike and Anja (and “our Landy”)
November 2015

It was our first time to travel to South Africa and we were unsure if this country would unfold itself to us. Thanks to the MaTakaTaka team we had an unforgettable time in the bush. Daniela managed to carefully take all our wishes and expectations into consideration and then set up a perfect, custom-made itinerary for us. We will certainly come back soon!

Dominik & Anja 
October/November 2015


In September/October 2015 two friends of mine and I travelled together to South Africa, Mozambique & Swaziland!
We booked our journey with MaTakaTaka Tours & Safaris which was the BEST and most perfect we could have done.
Daniela was present and helped us even before our journey started!
Her specifically asked questions & suggestions made it possible to match our wishes and needs 100%.
Where to go in such a vast continent? What would we like to experience within three weeks? What do we have to keep in mind? Which vaccinations do we need, what visa to apply for, what kind of clothing would make sense?
Thousands of questions! And all answered by Dani who provided us with all the details we needed to know!

Finally the journey started!
Once we landed in Johannesburg, we travelled to Mozambique where we stayed for a week in the most beautiful accommodations you can only dream of!
We left the German autumn behind & found ourselves with 30 degrees temperatures.
Dani showed us outstanding beaches and exotic markets, we were riding horses along deserted beaches, snorkeling in the Indian Ocean (I saw corals for the first time ever). We even saw whales far out in the ocean and of course Dani hat her binoculars handy.
We experienced great adventures! Even when our jeep got stuck in deep sand in 40-degree temperature, Dani stayed calm & with her exceptional skills got the jeep out in no time. We had so much fun!!!!

I have a very divided relationship to insects and remember our last night in Mozambique.
When we returned to our rooms (a house resting on stilts high above a dam), the house wall and entrance door was covered in insects.
We forgot to switch off the outside lights!
For me this was a true nightmare but when traveling with Daniela Mates nothing becomes a nightmare!
She always has a solution, is always helpful, sensible and understanding!!!
She covered me with a towel and guided me, protected from any contact with the insect, safely inside. Since then I am a little bit more relaxed with the one or two insects I encounter in the European summer 🙂 !!!
We spent our second week in the Kruger National Park! A breathtaking adventure none of us will ever forget!
If it is your first time there, one is fascinated by the big animals! The Big Five, giraffes, zebras, crocodiles and hippos, for example! But Dani knows so many more animals. Her passion are birds and it was fascinating to get whole stories about a bird just by hearing his sound.
It was very special for me to see Dani’s respect and love for Mother Nature and her beautiful animals! We also learned when, how and how much mankind should interfere in nature which was very important for me.
No matter what questions you might have about the African Wildlife, you can be sure, Dani knows the answer! And if not, she will read up as long as necessary to provide you with the answer!
In South Africa we also stayed at Bushriver Lodge which become a second home to us. Special thanks to Wessel who spoiled us like crazy at “his” lodge. So much that we extended our stay for one more night!!!
The whole team of Bushriver Lodge and Daniela Mates gave us one of the most unforgettable evenings of our lives: a surprise bush dinner under starlit African sky!
No words and no photo could describe how much this evening meant to us! I know, I do talk for my friends Johanna and Anja as well!
Many thanks dear Bushriver Lodge Team, dear Dani and Wessel for your love and hospitality!!! I could go on for hours to enthuse about our journey with you but one should leave on a high note.
Dear Dani, lovely friend of ours: Anja, Johanna and Angela are deeply thankful for the unforgettable time! We will be back!!! And to you who might be reading this:
If you ever plan to travel to Africa, do it with MaTakaTaka!
You won’t find a better Tour Operator!!!!!!!!!
Dani and Wessel: CHAPEAU!!!”

September/October 2015