Travel reviews

Travel reviews by Mr N & Ms S from London


A diverse and thought-provoking trip

On this trip, I visited Kenya between 27-Dec-2013 and 9-Jan-2014 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

We'd like to start by commending our drivers, who did our land transfers from Nairobi to Nanyuki and then from Wilson to the international airport via an afternoon in Karen (where we recommend the Talisman restaurant where we dined). Both our drivers, John at the start of our trip and Edward at the end, were first class.

Second, we should also mention why we land-transferred to Nanyuki, ie to visit the Karatina market, reputedly the second biggest food market in East Africa. While we had a business-specific reason for making this unusual visit, we can certainly recommend it for anyone who wants an interesting and different experience for a couple of hours in the Nanyuki area, meeting and chatting with local small business people.

All this being said, the heart of the trip was, of course, the safari in general and, in particular, the opportunity to visit - and therefore support - three community-based projects in Laikipia which are all run in somewhat different ways. Our growing sense for some time during our regular visits to Africa since 2006 has been that, with national parks in some parts often failing to provide adequate environmental and wildlife protection, much of the future may well lie in community-based and private (eg Mundulea in Namibia where we stayed in sept 2013) projects. This trip firmed up this view further, especially as it gave us a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the commitment of the local community to the projects and its aspirations, including for the education and related opportunities available to future generations.

Despite the ready sharing of views by those we met, we are cautious about trying to draw firm conclusions other than in the following respects. First, Laikipia is a fabulous part of Kenya and well worth visiting for both its wildlife and its culture. Second, we feel that these community-based projects are genuinely helping the local community consistent with its aims and aspiration and are, therefore, well worth supporting. Third, it will nevertheless likely to difficult to balance preserving tradition with the evolving way of life which inevitably ensues.

Finally, a word of thanks to the Expert Africa team, especially Richard Trillo, for their efforts putting together for us what was another excellent trip.

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Ole-Sereni, Kenya
27-Dec-2013 review: Convenient and comfortable overnight-er
GoodGood
Il Ngwesi Eco-Lodge, Kenya
28-Dec-2013 review: Great stay, great project
ExcellentExcellent
Tassia Lodge, Kenya
1-Jan-2014 review: A 'rare gem' indeed
ExcellentExcellent
Sarara, Kenya
5-Jan-2014 review: Comfort, culture and wildlife
ExcellentExcellent

'Best of breed'

On this trip, I visited Namibia between 5-Sep-2013 and 18-Sep-2013 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

This was our thirteenth trip with Expert Africa since 2006 (and we have two more in the pipeline), which speaks volumes in itself.

Once again, we found ourselves well-satisfied with EA's offering and the quality of service (including rapidly finding us overnight accommodation near the airport in Windhoek after a flight delay).

We enjoyed all the camps we went to and achieved most of our objectives (the pangolin, which we had hoped to see as there is research ongoing at one place we stayed, remaining unsurprisingly elusive).

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

Keep up the good work!

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Etango Ranch Guest Farm, Namibia
6-Sep-2013 review: Convenient and comfortable
ExcellentExcellent
Erongo Wilderness Lodge, Namibia
7-Sep-2013 review: Worth more time than we had there
ExcellentExcellent
Doro Nawas, Namibia
8-Sep-2013 review: More than just elephants and rock carvings
ExcellentExcellent
Etendeka Mountain Camp, Namibia
11-Sep-2013 review: Far from the madding crowd
ExcellentExcellent
Mundulea Reserve, Namibia
14-Sep-2013 review: Renaissance!
ExcellentExcellent

Breaking new ground

On this trip, I visited Kenya between 16-Feb-2013 and 22-Feb-2013 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

By way of background, the Kenya leg of this trip to Africa, was something of an add-on. The main purpose of the trip was a week in the Central African Republic; but, on discovering that the best way to get to CAR from London was via Nairobi, we decided to have a week in Kenya en route, mainly for vacation but also because we both had some non-vacation interests to pursue there which we could usefully incorporate.

Fortuitously, this decision coincided with EA's expansion into Kenya; so, at pretty short notice, we put ourselves in EA's hands again (for the twelfth time since 2006). Guided by new team member and Kenya expert Richard Trillo - aided by Ellie Dunkels who has arranged trips for us in the past - we went through a number of options before settling on Leleshwa as both convenient for our non-vacation elements and consistent with our vacation priorities and preferences. As our separate crits make clear, it was an excellent choice, not only in its own right but also as our introduction to safari in Kenya, a country which we are sure we will be exploring further in the not too distant future.

Indeed, overall - and worth underlining as we were, we believe, EA's first ever clients to Kenya - the whole trip was well up to the very high standards we know Chris McIntyre and the team set for themselves.

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Loita Hills Mobile
16-Feb-2013 review: A walk on the wild side
ExcellentExcellent
Leleshwa, Kenya
18-Feb-2013 review: The Mara without the 'madding crowd'
ExcellentExcellent
Sankara, Kenya
20-Feb-2013 review: Convenient and comfortable
ExcellentExcellent

Our eleventh Expert Africa experience

On this trip, I visited Zambia & Zimbabwe between 28-Dec-2012 and 12-Jan-2013 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

This, our eleventh, trip with Expert Africa was arranged at very short notice. As always EA in general and, in thjis instance, Claire Scott in particular, pulled out all the stops to find an itinerary which worked for us and we were delighted with the results.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

We are very impressed by the outcome of the upgrading of the website. And we welcome the addition to the EA portfolio of Kenya, which we are currently actively investigating with an eye to our twelfth EA-arranged trip.

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Camp Hwange, Zimbabwe
29-Dec-2012 review: Very happy new year!
ExcellentExcellent
Amalinda, Zimbabwe
2-Jan-2013 review: A broad and rewarding experience
ExcellentExcellent
Zambezi Sun, Zambia
7-Jan-2013 review: Our third stay in less than a year!
ExcellentExcellent
Eight Reedbuck Hotel, Zambia
10-Jan-2013 review: Our third stay in less than a year!
ExcellentExcellent

Our 10th trip with Expert Africa!

On this trip, I visited Zambia & Zimbabwe between 20-Sep-2012 and 4-Oct-2012 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

The fact that we have now made ten trips with EA since 2006 speaks for itself - and this one was right up there with the best. We continue to have no hesitation recommending Chris and his team to others.

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Kanga Bush Camp, Zimbabwe
20-Sep-2012 review: A treasure trove in Mana Pools
ExcellentExcellent
Vundu Camp, Zimbabwe
24-Sep-2012 review: A wonderful river location
ExcellentExcellent
Pioneer Camp, Zambia
28-Sep-2012 review: Convenient and comfortable
GoodGood
Zambezi Sun, Zambia
29-Sep-2012 review: Our preferred Livingstone accommodation!
ExcellentExcellent
Eight Reedbuck Hotel, Zambia
1-Oct-2012 review: A great place to stay in Lusaka
ExcellentExcellent

A well balanced trip

On this trip, I visited Zambia between 24-May-2012 and 7-Jun-2012 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

Our fourth visit to Zambia in less than three years was built partly around 'pure' vacation and partly around one or two other interests we wanted to follow. We were able to pursue satisfactorily our non-vacation objectives and have a most enjoyable break in the process, not least thanks to the - as always first rate - advice we gleaned from Expert Africa while we were planning this, our ninth, trip with the firm.

On the vacation element, we thought that we got the balance right between the more conventional South Luangwa leg and the more exotic Bangweulu/Kasanka leg.

Overall, we are very satisfied

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

On the website, the recent evolution (on which work is ongoing) is rapidly pushing it towards the 'very good' category.

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Zambezi Sun, Zambia
24-May-2012 review: A good base in Livingstone
GoodGood
Shoebill Island Camp, Zambia
27-May-2012 review: Remarkable wetlands, remarkable wildlife
GoodGood
Wasa Lodge, Zambia
29-May-2012 review: Sitatunga Central!
GoodGood
Tafika, Zambia
1-Jun-2012 review: A happy return to Tafika
ExcellentExcellent
Eight Reedbuck Hotel, Zambia
5-Jun-2012 review: A good base in Lusaka
GoodGood

Another great trip with Expert Africa

On this trip, I visited Botswana between 6-Jan-2012 and 22-Jan-2012 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

This was a great trip, our eighth with Expert Africa since 2006, which entirely met our expectations and requirements.

Megan (and Lucy before her) did a great job on getting quite a complex itinerary to work. Thanks to all the team.

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Motswiri Camp, Botswana
7-Jan-2012 review: A walkers' and riders' paradise
ExcellentExcellent
Nxai Pan Camp, Botswana
11-Jan-2012 review: A less known but no less impressive migration
ExcellentExcellent
Rileys Hotel, Botswana
15-Jan-2012 review: The place to stay in Maun
GoodGood
Gaborone Sun
17-Jan-2012 review: Good business hotel
ExcellentExcellent
Own arrangement
19-Jan-2012 review: A good business hotel in Jo'burg
ExcellentExcellent

A well-balanced itinerary

On this trip, I visited Tanzania between 30-Aug-2011 and 15-Sep-2011 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

This was, perhaps, the most tricky of our seven (to date) trips with Expert Africa in that for the first eight days we were travelling with family who hadn't been to Africa before and we therefore needed to accommodate "first time" expectations while, within the same trip, looking to cater for our own somewhat different objectives.

Expert Africa was able to come up with a 15-day programme which fully met these two sets of objectives.

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Oliver's Camp, Tanzania
31-Aug-2011 review: More elephants than impalas
GoodGood
Olakira Mara - Ndutu Camp, Tanzania
4-Sep-2011 review: All the big five and much more
GoodGood
Chada Camp, Tanzania
8-Sep-2011 review: Well worth the journey
ExcellentExcellent
Greystoke Mahale, Tanzania
12-Sep-2011 review: Not just about chimps
GoodGood

My Dec 2010 trip

On this trip, I visited Zambia & Zimbabwe between 26-Dec-2010 and 10-Jan-2011 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

We booked this trip (unusually for us) at very short notice but EA was able to come up with an itinerary which totally matched our parameters and which worked out extremely well (including the potentially tricky issue of crossing the Zam/Zim border twi ce with different carriers on each side). We were very happy with the whole experience

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

As mentioned in feedback from previous trips we do think the website could be usefully updated more frequently. But we would congratulate you on the 2011 brochure which is a step up from the still very good 20010 version.

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Zambezi Sun, Zambia
27-Dec-2010 review: Fun by the Falls
GoodGood
Somalisa Camp, Zimbabwe
30-Dec-2010 review: Super Somalisa
ExcellentExcellent
Ilala Lodge, Zimbabwe
4-Jan-2011 review: Idyllic Ilala
ExcellentExcellent
Taj Pamodzi Hotel, Zambia
9-Jan-2011 review: A convenient overnighter
GoodGood

Our Fifth Year With Expert Africa

On this trip, I visited Zambia between 22-Sep-2010 and 8-Oct-2010 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

We had a great holiday.

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Chikoko Tree Camp, Zambia
23-Sep-2010 review: Wonderful for Walkers
ExcellentExcellent
Tafika, Zambia
26-Sep-2010 review: Microlight Highlight
ExcellentExcellent
Chiawa Camp, Zambia
30-Sep-2010 review: Wonderful Warblers
GoodGood

A First Class Foray

On this trip, I visited Botswana & Zambia between 8-Dec-2009 and 22-Dec-2009 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

This vacation – our fourth in four years with Expert Africa – was definitely the best we have done so far. We achieved in full our two main objectives, ie seeing Africa green from the rains (including a storm in the Kalahari while we were there); and focusing primarily on birds (with copious help from our expert guides, nearly 200 species identified over 12 days including some real rarities). Furthermore, we managed to see more species of mammals than we have on any of our previous three trips despite the more abundant vegetation and the national park restrictions in the Kalahari; and, of course, we had the pleasure of the Victoria Falls.

The high bird count was in part a reflection of the season. But we also felt that we benefitted in that respect – and similarly with mammals – from staying in four very different terroirs during our trip, ie the “mighty Zambezi” just above Vic Falls, Linyanti, the Delta and the Kalahari. And, needless to say, we would not have been anything like as successful without expert guides in all four camps in which we stayed.

Given the amount of moving around we did – more than usual, especially when one includes the day-trip into Zimbabwe – we should also note that the logistics worked throughout with commendable smoothness thanks to a combination of your planning and extremely competent and pleasant people looking after us locally.

In sum, this was a great trip.

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Sindabezi, Zambia
9-Dec-2009 review: Romancing by the river
GoodGood
Lebala Camp, Botswana
11-Dec-2009 review: Lush Linyanti
GoodGood
Xaranna Okavango Delta Lodge, Botswana
14-Dec-2009 review: The Delights of the Delta
GoodGood
Tau Pan Camp, Botswana
17-Dec-2009 review: Aficionados' Africa
GoodGood

An excellent programme

On this trip, I visited Botswana between 13-Sep-2008 and 27-Sep-2008 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

For the third year in a row, Expert Africa put together an excellent safari for us (previously we went under their guidance to Tanzania and to Namibia). We have nothing but praise for the genuine expertise the firm brings to the table and they have consistently matched our requirements and exceeded our expectations.

We really enjoyed our whole Botswana experience.

Suggestions for improvement:

None at present, thank you.

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Mapula Lodge, Botswana
14-Sep-2008 review: Mapula - A Great Addition by Expert Africa
ExcellentExcellent
Kwara Camp, Botswana
18-Sep-2008 review: Kwara - Wide ranging Activities
ExcellentExcellent
Lebala Camp, Botswana
22-Sep-2008 review: Lebala - Real comfort and great animals
GoodGood

My Oct 2007 trip

On this trip, I visited Namibia between 3-Oct-2007 and 14-Oct-2007 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

We were very pleased with the level of service we received from Expert Africa, especially when we had to change our itinerary late in the day on which Sabina worked extensively and imaginatively to come up with a solution where we might otherwise have had to cancel the entire trip. We cannot praise Sabina too highly.

We were glad we limited our travel. We met many people who were spending a night here and a night there trying to see the majority of the country in a couple of weeks - several of whom were attracted by our more limited programme. From our perspective, we'd reckon we got far better value out of the vacation by focusing on one particular corner of Namibia's vastness.

Bottom line: this was a great trip - not least as we saw 32 different mammal species including many we did not see in Tanzania last year - and we will be coming back to Expert Africa shortly to explore options for Botswana next year and hopefully (now Clare's seen rhinos) satisfy Alastair's 26 year quest to see wild dogs!

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Waterberg Plateau Lodge
4-Oct-2007 review: Calm, views and rhinos - ideal short stay
GoodGood
Ongava Tented Camp, Namibia
6-Oct-2007 review: A great centre-piece to a fab vacation
ExcellentExcellent
Halali Camp, Namibia
10-Oct-2007 review: Sound accommodation, great waterhole
GoodGood
Okaukuejo Camp, Namibia
12-Oct-2007 review: Fine facilities, first clas waterhole
ExcellentExcellent