Travel reviews

Travel reviews by Nick and Kate - London and West Sussex


Scenery as much as wildlife in Namibia

On this trip, I visited Namibia between 17-Sep-2014 and 3-Oct-2014 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

GoodGood

Namibia is not the country to go to for lashings of big game. If you want that, it's Botswana, then perhaps Tanzania and then Zambia. Namibia is a destination where the scenery plays as much a part of the experience as the game. Accordingly, if you're full-on animal spotters like us, the country can disappoint a little.

Having said that, there is plenty of fun to be had, the accommodations are delightful, the light aircraft trips are spectacular, the scenery is indeed amazing - and, of course, there are the unforgettable black rhino. We did not self-drive, and met many people who were finding that experience fairly challenging (but others we met were loving it). All in all, we enjoyed the visit, but probably would have wanted to speed it up here and there, and maybe cut down some of the 2 night stays where one had done everything within 24 hours.

Not sure either about Etosha - some marvellous moments, but not up there for us with the truly great African game parks.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

1. People can do Erongo fully in one night if they have a late afternoon flight home from Windhoek.
2. On private safaris, issue guests with a voucher making it very clear what is included and what is not (eg local beverages)
3. Seriously consider whether Kulala Desert Lodge is suitable
4. Wolwedans and Sossuvlei did not merit 4 nights - could this be done in for speedy types like us?
5. Clarify that Erongo and Damaraland scenery are actually really quite similar - we had expected Erongo to be a sort of green and pleasant land!

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Galton House, Namibia
18-Sep-2014 review: Pleasant option in Windhoek
AverageAverage
Wolwedans Dune Camp, Namibia
19-Sep-2014 review: Spectacular location - shame about mosquitoes
GoodGood
Kulala Desert Lodge, Namibia
21-Sep-2014 review: Sprawling camp which lacks character
AverageAverage
Desert Rhino Camp, Namibia
23-Sep-2014 review: Desert Rhino Camp review
GoodGood
Mowani Mountain Camp, Namibia
25-Sep-2014 review: Lovely camp and great elephants
GoodGood
Okaukuejo Camp, Namibia
27-Sep-2014 review: Underrated, lovely resort with waterhole
ExcellentExcellent
Onguma Tented Camp, Namibia
28-Sep-2014 review: Onguma Tented Camp review
ExcellentExcellent
Erongo Wilderness Lodge, Namibia
30-Sep-2014 review: Erongo Wilderness Lodge review
GoodGood

The ultimate game experience

On this trip, I visited Botswana between 22-Oct-2009 and 2-Nov-2009 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

1. Botswana delivers the ultimate in high-quality, varied and abundant game viewing, in a beautiful setting. Also, it seemed that all the camps have a policy of ensuring that there are no more than 4 people in a vehicle - often, we had the vehicle to ourselves as a pair.

2. The lodges are run very well, and are also high quality - albeit, they lack any individuality or idiosyncrasies. The Wilderness experience is, therefore, very reliable, but a bit corporate. Nevertheless, it does what it says on the tin, and does it very well.

3. The company needs to be more thoughtful about how it manages interaction between staff and guests. The staff are a constant presence - breakfast, coffee breaks, brunch, tea, pre-dinner drinks, dinner - and, while always lovely people, are not necessarily the most gifted conversationalists (true of quite a few guests, mind you). It can be quite oppressive having to 'manage' the conversation, and it can interfere with one's ability to socialise easily with other guests. One can in theory choose to ignore the staff, but this is hardly British. I understand that safaris are meant to be communal, and that the company doesn't want an atmosphere of servile staff and snooty guests (not at the classic camps, anyway) - but the balance is absolutely not right at the moment.

4. Standards of guiding, while competent and friendly, falll a long way short of the standards we have experienced in Tanzania and Zambia from guides trained in Zimbabwe. The knowledge of the guides is often superficial, and they can get quite flustered by questions which take them out of their comfort zone. Standards of tracking seemed low. There is a need for significant investment in training if the standards are to reach the levels whereby a guide can transform your experience of a game drive.

5. There should be more active management of a variety of options for activities - too often, it was assumed that a day drive was all that was ever wanted.

6. Except at Chitabe, the main meals were very uninspiring as a rule.

7. On the other hand, I have never had such a mosquito free trip! Well done to the camps for making the nights a really relaxing time for sleeping.

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Chitabe Lediba, Botswana
23-Oct-2009 review: Stunning game in a great setting
ExcellentExcellent
Little Vumbura, Botswana
26-Oct-2009 review: Beautiful camp in a watery setting
ExcellentExcellent
DumaTau Camp, Botswana
29-Oct-2009 review: Fabulous game
ExcellentExcellent

Zambia excellent for safari veterans

On this trip, I visited Zambia between 28-Sep-2007 and 9-Oct-2007 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

Really good destination, good game, good camps, met some nice people, Tafika a five star experience.

Wilderness somewhat corporate experience.

Pleased that most people were veterans - no honeymooners.

Very very hot - quite a lot of tsetse.

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Busanga Bushcamp, Zambia
29-Sep-2007 review: enjoybale safari, good camp, some issues
GoodGood
Lunga River Lodge, Zambia (this camp has since closed)
3-Oct-2007 review: Beautiful park and river, sweltering lodge
AverageAverage
Tafika, Zambia
4-Oct-2007 review: superb safari and a first-rate camp
ExcellentExcellent
Taj Pamodzi Hotel, Zambia
8-Oct-2007 review: Pleasant city hotel
GoodGood