Travel reviews

Travel reviews by Mr S and Ms J - Sussex


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