Travel reviews

Travel reviews by Mr. & Mrs W-J from Nottingham


My Aug 2014 trip

On this trip, I visited Namibia between 10-Aug-2014 and 30-Aug-2014 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

Another great 3 weeks wandering around Namibia!. This was our 5th trip which, we think, pretty much says it all. Some new places and some old friends to see.

Can we go back please?

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Omatozu
10-Aug-2014 review: Omatozu - a great discovery
ExcellentExcellent
Huab Lodge, Namibia
11-Aug-2014 review: Huab Lodge review
ExcellentExcellent
Dolomite Camp, Namibia
13-Aug-2014 review: Dolomite Camp review
ExcellentExcellent
Okaukuejo Camp, Namibia
15-Aug-2014 review: Okaukuejo Camp review
GoodGood
Mushara Bush Camp, Namibia
18-Aug-2014 review: Mushara Bush Camp review
GoodGood
Ndhovu Safari Lodge, Namibia
19-Aug-2014 review: Welcomed like old friends!
ExcellentExcellent
Lianshulu Lodge, Namibia
21-Aug-2014 review: Lianshulu Lodge review
ExcellentExcellent
Nkasa Lupala Tented Lodge, Namibia
24-Aug-2014 review: Nkasa Lupala Tented Lodge review
GoodGood
Ichobezi Houseboats, Namibia
27-Aug-2014 review: Ichobezi Houseboats review
ExcellentExcellent
Ichingo Chobe River Lodge, Namibia
29-Aug-2014 review: Ichingo Chobe River Lodge review
ExcellentExcellent

Zambian River Journeys

On this trip, I visited Zambia between 16-Mar-2014 and 24-Mar-2014 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

RPS camps are still some of our favourites and we had a great time courtesy of El Presidente Daudi, the team and our fellow travellers.

Getting to Zambia is now something of a real long-haul as the direct BA flight has gone - perhaps we will explore other options next time.

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Luangwa River Camp, Zambia
16-Mar-2014 review: Leopards everywhere!
ExcellentExcellent
Nsefu, Zambia
18-Mar-2014 review: Mud, mud, glorious mud!
ExcellentExcellent
Nkwali, Zambia
21-Mar-2014 review: Back again!
ExcellentExcellent

Liuwa to Luangwa

On this trip, I visited Zambia between 3-Jun-2013 and 15-Jun-2013 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

An amazing trip to see one of the last wildlife wildernesses. We feel extremely privileged to have been able to spend time at Liuwa in the company of Jason, Robin, Kanga and the team. The difficulties of the journey to get there are immediately forgotten on arrival; we really hope RPS will restart these trips when the new lodge in the park is built; maybe someone will also construct an airstrip on land firm enough to take planes big enough to get guests and supplies in. The current one can only take the tiny research plane but is otherwise used as a running track as the soil is so soft!

South Luangwa was excellent as usual with some fantastic sightings including a leopard taking her three (!) tiny cubs out for the first time.

All ground arrangements went smoothly as usual though, for us, we found Tours Africa a little too attentive – we really don’t need somebody to shepherd us to the lounge once we’ve passed passport control. And we’re perfectly capable of paying our own departure tax.

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Matamanene Camp, Zambia
3-Jun-2013 review: Matamanene Camp review
ExcellentExcellent
Eight Reedbuck Hotel, Zambia
8-Jun-2013 review: Eight Reedbuck Hotel review
ExcellentExcellent
Nkwali, Zambia
9-Jun-2013 review: Nkwali review
ExcellentExcellent
Tena Tena, Zambia
11-Jun-2013 review: Fabulous Tena!
ExcellentExcellent
Eight Reedbuck Hotel, Zambia
14-Jun-2013 review: Eight Reedbuck Hotel review
ExcellentExcellent

My Dec 2012 trip

On this trip, I visited Tanzania between 27-Dec-2012 and 6-Jan-2013 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

Another wonderful trip, our 12th (!) with Expert Africa.This was probably the simplest to arrange - thank you Ellie.

Although Mwagusi lost one paw in the marking for the temperature of the food it was definitely our favourite of the two camps - to the extent that Jane cried on having to leave!

Trip 13 is booked and 14 in the planning stages!

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

Keep going - we even toyed with the idea of trip 15 tonight.

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Mwagusi Safari Camp, Tanzania
28-Dec-2012 review: Mwagusi Safari Camp review
ExcellentExcellent
Selous Impala Camp, Tanzania
1-Jan-2013 review: Selous Impala Camp review
ExcellentExcellent
Southern Sun Dar, Tanzania
5-Jan-2013 review: Southern Sun Dar review
ExcellentExcellent

Kasane to Cape Town – 3000 miles in 3 weeks

On this trip, I visited Botswana, Namibia & South Africa between 8-Aug-2011 and 28-Aug-2011 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

Initially even we thought we were slightly bonkers with this ambitious itinerary but after extensive and detailed planning everything went smoothly (with the exception of Elegant Farmstead cancelling our booking at the very last minute in favour of a large group; if this is typical of their attitude maybe they're not suitable for EA's independent travellers).

We had a FANTASTIC time!!!! Whilst some drives were long they were perfectly manageable with two drivers, a flask of coffee and our trusty MP3 player to entertain us. The roadside picnic stations provided good places to stop and eat a bit of lunch – there are plenty of supermarkets in the towns to buy provisions, including a 5 litre bottle of water. Most lodges charge for water (about N$13 for a small bottle) so it makes sense to buy a big one in a supermarket (about N$20) and top up your little bottles from it. There seemed to be far fewer parking guards about than on our previous trips and, we were surprised to see, even petrol station attendants don't seem to expect tips any more.

Garden Lodge provided a gentle start to our marathon trip with good company, tasty food, an excellent boat trip and lots of cats and dogs to play with. Kasane is an interesting little frontier town, buzzing with activity though not the place to stock up for a long trip. Don't be surprised to see a warthog trotting across the road in the middle of town.

The brand new Ngoma lodge is excellent (see review) with loads of animals to see, excellent food and great staff. We highly recommend it. It is one of the few places that provides free water – we promised to take our Ngoma bottles all the way to Cape Town; after many refills they finally met their demise at security in Cape Town airport!

We returned to Garden Lodge to have our car delivered and set off for the border next morning. Crossing the border into Namibia is no problem at all and after stocking up at a supermarket in Katima Mulilo we set off across the Caprivi strip. Roads in the Caprivi are, as Chris's book says, long, straight and can be quite tedious though you need to keep an eye out for wandering cows, goats and dogs (and the occasional human).

Arriving at Ndhovu in the early afternoon, we spent a couple of hours on our deck on the river bird-spotting. Next day we took a trip across to Buffalo (suggest pre-booking if you want to do this) and then drove ourselves to Mahango in the afternoon.

It was a long drive to Ghaub the next day but switching from 'Caprivi time' meant we gained an hour; we had been debating whether the hour was going backwards or forwards and it was only when the guard at the vetinary gate greeted us with a cheery 'Good Morning' that we were certain! After two nights peaceful rest we set off to Okaukeujo. We arrived at Etosha in good time and managed to visit several good waterholes on the drive across the park.

We spent most of the next day in the park and then moved on to the big surprise of the trip; Taleni. We'd wanted to spend two nights at Okaukeujo but had been unable to get a room despite booking very early. Taleni is just outside Etosha and we loved it. It does attract some large groups but the staff use the different dining areas to give couples or family groups privacy and peace.

A comfortable morning's drive brought us to Gocheganas, just south of Windhoek, which proved an unexpected pleasure. We had been booked to stay at Elegant Farmstead but they had cancelled our booking at the very last minute (after we arrived in Namibia). As it turned out Gocheganas fitted in with our itinerary much better and we thought the place was excellent. Thanks to Sabina for organising the change for us; in the days before BlackBerrys and the internet this could have been a major problem but in this case was (almost) painless.

The drive to Bagatelle, for some reason, took longer than anticipated; the roads were good and we'd calculated the distance but it just took longer! However we arrived in comfortable time and enjoyed watching the waterhole, excellent food and company and, of course, the meerkats!

Next, off to Fish River Canyon. Until Keetmanshoop the B1 is a good tar road but you then have to venture onto gravel. The road is bumpy and undulates with the landscape, which is beautiful, and you may even meet a train! The canyon itself is fantastic and there are few people about; such a contrast to its rival in the USA!

We left Canon Lodge in the sunshine and headed for the border with South Africa. The crossing itself was painless though there was a notable diminishment in friendliness of immigration staff on the South African side. Heading down the N7 the weather turned and we found ourselves in rain and/or cloud. As we had plenty of time we went down to Skilpad to see the flowers with which we were disappointed. However, driving back over the mountains they were lovely.

It absolutely tipped it down overnight (not ideal in a room with an iron roof!) and we set off for the marathon drive to Cape Town with some trepidation. Driving over the mountain passes in heavy cloud was 'entertaining' to say the least (particularly when we were held up by major roadworks – waiting time at least 20 minutes). We stopped off in Clanwilliam which we thought a lovely town.

The sun came out as we arrived in Camps Bay. We'd arranged our own accommodation here; there are lots of good guest houses .
The place has clearly been spruced up since the World Cup and there are some excellent new restaurants. We ate at The Codfather – excellent but shellfish is very expensive, Ocean Blue – just as excellent but less pricey, and The Kove – best steak Martin had all trip and great staff. Tuscany Beach was also highly recommended by our guest house.

We did the tourist bit – open top bus tour (don't forget to use the vouchers printed on the back of the ticket!) boat trip and lunch at the V&A – recommend The Greek Fisherman and City Grill Steakhouse – then the bus back to Camps Bay. The following day we drove (yes we hadn't had quite enough!) down to Cape Point where there seemed to be bonteboks around every corner (even on the beach) and few other visitors about.

Finally off to Hermanus and the whales. You really can see them from the coastal path, though the boat trip out to sea is well worthwhile too. The town is lovely and there are some excellent wineries to visit nearby.
Overall, a wonderful trip which we'd wanted to do for years. What's next???????

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

If only travel to Africa was less expensiver!

The name says it all - you are the Africa Experts and although we do shop around we come back time and time again.

Perhaps a minor point is that you should consider regular travellers' previous trips before saying they can't do something

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Garden Lodge, Botswana
8-Aug-2011 review: Kasane to Cape Town Day 1
ExcellentExcellent
Ngoma Safari Lodge, Botswana
9-Aug-2011 review: Kasane to Cape Town Days 2 and 3
ExcellentExcellent
Garden Lodge, Botswana
11-Aug-2011 review: Kasane to Cape Town Day 4
ExcellentExcellent
Ndhovu Safari Lodge, Namibia
12-Aug-2011 review: Kasane to cape Town Days 5 and 6
ExcellentExcellent
Ghaub Guest Farm, Namibia
14-Aug-2011 review: Kasane to Cape Town Days 7 and 8
ExcellentExcellent
Okaukuejo Camp, Namibia
16-Aug-2011 review: Kasane to Cape Town Day 9
GoodGood
Taleni Etosha Village, Namibia
17-Aug-2011 review: Kasane to Cape Town Day 10
ExcellentExcellent
Gocheganas Lodge & Spa, Namibia
18-Aug-2011 review: Unwanted at the Elegant Farmstead
ExcellentExcellent
Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch, Namibia
19-Aug-2011 review: Kasane to Cape Town Day 12
ExcellentExcellent
Canyon Lodge, Namibia
20-Aug-2011 review: Kasane to Cape Town days 13 and 14
ExcellentExcellent
Mountain View Guest House, South Africa
22-Aug-2011 review: Kasane to Cape Town Day 15
GoodGood
under own arrangements
23-Aug-2011 review: Kasane to cape Town Days 16 to 19
ExcellentExcellent
Ocean Eleven, South Africa
26-Aug-2011 review: Kasane to Cape Town Days 20 and 21
ExcellentExcellent

We finally made it to Selous!

On this trip, I visited Tanzania & Zanzibar between 14-Aug-2010 and 5-Sep-2010 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

We have been working on this trip for years - and it lived up to every expectation. Great variety of accommodation, excellent game viewing and a bit of swimming at the end. We have already discussed the possibility of going back.

Thank you to all at Expert Africa who have had input to this over the years - Chris, Claire, Penny, Liz and Ellie.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

The trips are excellent, service very good and, despite trying, we cannot better you on price.

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Mdonya Old River Camp, Tanzania
15-Aug-2010 review: Living with eles at Mdonya
ExcellentExcellent
Mwagusi Safari Camp, Tanzania
18-Aug-2010 review: Mwagusi Safari Camp review
ExcellentExcellent
Siwandu (Selous Safari Camp), Tanzania
22-Aug-2010 review: Excellent time at SSC
ExcellentExcellent
Beho Beho, Tanzania
26-Aug-2010 review: Beho Beho review
ExcellentExcellent
Pole Pole, Tanzania
30-Aug-2010 review: Pole Pole review
GoodGood
Fumba Beach Lodge, Zanzibar
2-Sep-2010 review: Fumba Beach Lodge review
GoodGood

Another excellent trip

On this trip, I visited Botswana, Namibia & Zambia between 14-Aug-2009 and 4-Sep-2009 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

We have had another wonderful holiday – our third trip to Namibia, and at least 9th with Expert Africa – but things could have been better.

Our feedback reflects what we have come to expect from Expert Africa – a minimum 4-paw grading for everything – therefore 5 paws are very hard to achieve and reflect something exceptional.

We were very annoyed by the cancellation of the direct Air Namibia flights; this caused us significant inconvenience. We met so many people who shared our views – from fellow travellers to lodge owners to guides – everybody was unhappy about it. Having been forced to fly via Frankfurt we thought Frankfurt airport was very poor – lack of signage, few shops, little seating and even a mouse in the Business Class lounge. Toilets were dirty. The process will make us think twice before going back to Namibia.

However........ arriving at Windhoek in the morning we found the drive up to Etosha no problem – there were 2 of us to share the driving and we stopped off for shopping and lunch on the way – we definitely prefer to get straight on the road rather than spending a night in Windhoek and effectively wasting a day. We'd recommend buying a Namibian SIM for your mobile at the airport (took 5 mins and cost around £10) – others tend not to work, even with Global Roaming enabled – and we did use it when we discovered we'd left Ghaub with the room key in a pocket!

We'd always thought the road signs on the B1 warning of warthogs rather amusing but we saw dozens on the side of the road this time! Our trip was mostly on tar roads this time, which is great in some ways but they can be very straight and boring – in particular the roads through the Caprivi. We were glad we had booked a 4X2 vehicle for driving some of the tracks in Etosha and Mahango – no need for 4x4 at this time of year.

We were so pleased we were doing a one-way trip; we met many people who had found the driving tiring and were not looking forward to the drive back to Windhoek from the Caprivi. We had tried to slow things down and space them out so that most of our drives were less than 4 hours and, where possible, we spent at least 2 nights in accommodation. This gave us the chance to take advantage of the activities on offer and relax (eg at Hakusembe).

Many lodges do not provide drinking water (or at cost) so we suggest buying a 5 litre bottle in a supermarket (about N$15) and taking it with you.

We would happily repeat our holiday and revisit any of our accommodation with the exception of Namutoni – no way!

Suggestions for improvements:

We have travelled with EA so many times it must be a recommendation in itself! We did do some market testing on this trip and found competitors more expensive. We're already organised for next summer's trip.

However, on rare occasions accuracy of quotations is somewhat sacrificed in the interests of getting them to clients quickly. This is obviously partly due to the complexity of trips but can be frustrating.

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Okaukuejo Camp, Namibia
15-Aug-2009 review: Much better than expected
GoodGood
Halali Camp, Namibia
17-Aug-2009 review: Halali Camp review
GoodGood
Namutoni Camp, Namibia
18-Aug-2009 review: What a disappointment!
PoorPoor
Ghaub Guest Farm, Namibia
19-Aug-2009 review: Ghaub Guest Farm review
ExcellentExcellent
Hakusembe Lodge, Namibia
20-Aug-2009 review: Hakusembe Lodge review
GoodGood
Ndhovu Safari Lodge, Namibia
22-Aug-2009 review: Ndhovu Safari Lodge review
GoodGood
Susuwe Island Lodge, Namibia
25-Aug-2009 review: Susuwe Island Lodge review
GoodGood
Garden Lodge, Botswana
29-Aug-2009 review: The Garden Lodge review
GoodGood
Ichobezi Houseboats, Namibia
30-Aug-2009 review: Ichobezi Houseboats review
ExcellentExcellent
Islands of Siankaba, Zambia
1-Sep-2009 review: Islands of Siankaba review
GoodGood

Where was the rain?

On this trip, I visited Namibia between 1-Jan-2009 and 11-Jan-2009 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

Our second visit to Namibia and a wonderful prelude to the longer trip planned for 2009. It was great to revisit some areas (though in different accommodation) and try some new places. Okonjima was in easy reach of the airport, even though we flew BA via Jo'burg and didn't arrive at Windhoek until 2pm. We met many people who regretted spending their first night in Windhoek rather than venturing further, but also some who were exhausted on arrival and just wanted a sleep - it has to be a personal decision.

Damaraland had been beautiful in the dry season but after the rains it was stunning with river beds full of flowers - and even some water!

After much debate in the UK we decided when in Namibia to drive the Skeleton Coast road (after taking local advice) and had no problems at all - it was a fascinating, though long, drive and we're really glad we did it; however we probably wouldn't choose to do it again. Local advice is crucial if you want to do this drive.

We saw no rain at all - apparently it had all come early this year.

Thanks to Tracy, Sabina and Chris for their help in organising the trip at pretty short notice - think they surprised themselves in finding availabilities!

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Okonjima Bush Camp, Namibia
2-Jan-2009 review: Much improved Okonjima
ExcellentExcellent
Doro Nawas, Namibia
4-Jan-2009 review: Doro Nawas review
ExcellentExcellent
Cape Cross Lodge, Namibia
6-Jan-2009 review: Cape Cross Lodge review
ExcellentExcellent
Cornerstone Guesthouse, Namibia
7-Jan-2009 review: Cornerstone Guesthouse review
ExcellentExcellent

My Aug 2008 trip

On this trip, I visited Tanzania between 23-Aug-2008 and 5-Sep-2008 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

We put so much time and energy into this trip that it could easily have been an anti-climax ......but it wasn't!!!!! We had a wonderful time and all our negative feelings from 10 years ago have been swept away.

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
E Unoto Retreat, Tanzania (this camp has since closed)
24-Aug-2008 review: E Unoto Retreat review
GoodGood
Serengeti Migration Camp, Tanzania
27-Aug-2008 review: Serengeti Migration Camp review
ExcellentExcellent
Sayari Camp, Tanzania
31-Aug-2008 review: Sayari Camp review
GoodGood
Royal Palm Hotel, Tanzania
4-Sep-2008 review: Royal Palm Hotel review
ExcellentExcellent

New Year Trip to Cape Town

On this trip, I visited South Africa between 29-Dec-2007 and 6-Jan-2008 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

GoodGood

We had a great time, only spoiled by the antics of Europcar

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Own Arrangements
30-Dec-2007 review: Finchley House Camps Bay
ExcellentExcellent
Ocean Eleven, South Africa
2-Jan-2008 review: Ocean Eleven review
ExcellentExcellent
Bishops' Court, South Africa
4-Jan-2008 review: Bishops' Court Wonderful As Ever!
ExcellentExcellent