Reviews of Shinde Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
5 star ratings for Shinde
This is a wonderful camp, made even more so by the fact that during our visit the previous camp managers (Barbara and Bruce) were then providing relief for the current managers, who were on leave.
Managers Barbara and Bruce, our guide Bee, major domo Julius and virtually everyone else on the staff were absolutely top-notch. The guiding and activities were superb, the best of our trip. Vehicles were new and comfortable. Food was excellent, so was the service.
The site of the camp is wonderful and its overall design just lovely. We would definitely return to this location. I would rank this camp the top overall rating of the four we visited and would recommend to anyone.
Shinde is a well established camp and thus the game seemed more tame! Whislt this means getting very close to them (which was great!) however seemed all too easy to come across the animals compared with our time at Linyanti.
The guides, whilst have the most amazing spotting skills, lacked enthusiasm that we had seen in our earlier camp... The food at Shinde was good but felt the dining setting was a little too formal. We loved the fact there was a pool which meant we could relax in the afternoon between game drives - although it did lack sunloungers and towels for the numbers that wanted to use it.
Shinde excelled in offering a number of different type of activities - mokoros, motoboat trips, walking safaris. The champagne and cheese platter we received as a honeymoon treat was a lovely touch.
Again, as per our comments on Footsteps: the rooms were comfortable, the staff were great, we were lucky enough to be with Julius the Head Guide and deputy manager, who managed to find something different and fascinating every time we went out - and these were not things he knew about in advance and could 'deliver' to us (however accomplished a guide, you can't pre-arrange a huge bush fire lighting up the horizon 20 kilometres way that dramatically illuminated 7 young male lions stalking a moving buffalo herd at sunset!).
We realise that many people like the lavish hospitality bit but we found the evening meal with the long table slightly formal and might have preferred it to be a touch less banquet-like, but its a detail and overall we hugely enjoyed our stay.
Only one suggestion and its something we've noticed across southern Africa, and its that coffee is always made rather weak - but if thats our only gripe, no-one needs to lose sleep, do they?
Wonderful location, very attractive raised dining areas and tents with raised outdoor deck were very nice. Food fine. Some very good wildlife sightings including lots of hippos in a pool at dusk, lions stalking buffalo, resident genit(!) and an amazing sight of a sitatunga just caught by a huge croc and being held under (even our guide BT had seen nothing like this before). Slightly larger camp 16 guests so felt busier.
Only one adverse comment and that was the staff in charge, Rian and Winnie. Their hospitality felt quite "forced" and we felt rather regimented. On arrival after a hot trip what I most wanted was a cold drink and the loo! I did not appreciate a long talk about Ker and Downey and their other camps - all too much "marketing"!
On our last day the time of transfer changed 3 times - as it was originally going to be at 10 so we decided to forego a early game drive and relax and catch up a bit, when it changed to a later time we were made to feel it was somehow inconvenient for THEM for us to be still there.
Other guests also felt they were not the most skilled hosts so I would have some reservations about recommending what is otherwise a great place.
Ker Downey camps remain my favorites. Their staff and guides are wonderful! It's good to see the guides able to work their way up into more administrative jobs with seniority and ability recognized. Loved the elephant dung/sisal paths!!
I am a bit sorry to see a "one size for all" somewhat slick welcoming routine - I saw the exact routine at Selinda. I much preferred the "take you to your room first" routine which was more individualized to the clients immediate needs. Too many people at a time, much prefer 16 to the 20+ we encountered; lacks the "family" feeling.