Travel reviews

Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs V - Essex


Gorillas and the Serengeti Migration 2014

On this trip, I visited Rwanda & Tanzania between 3-Jul-2014 and 17-Jul-2014 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

We are seasoned safari aficionados, this being our 11th trip but first to Rwanda and then on to the Northern Tanzanian circuit. We enjoyed the whole trip immensely and had many memorable sightings and generally excellent lodges and camps.

Rwanda. Words cannot describe the gorilla treks- we looked forward to them, read as much as we could before going and still the experience was overwhelming. This was a birthday treat for my wife and on her birthday we watched a large family of gorillas going about their business and interacting with us in an absolutely magical way. Expensive but worth every penny- just save and do it.

Rwanda practically. The lodge was great and Primate safaris were efficient, our driver friendly and efficient. The country was fascinating- a modern city in Kigali and so clean but subsistence agriculture elsewhere with not a tractor in sight. Very friendly people.


Northern Tanzania. We saw the migration, half of a Mara river crossing and an abundance of game in the Serengeti. I was dubious about going to such a popular destination but did not feel that there were too many vehicles in the area. A great lodge in Lemai.


Asilia were superb in looking after us from Manyara onwards. Manyara was fine but beware, the open part of the park is only a half day's game drive and although we did meet someone who had seen a lion, the famous tree climbing lions are not often seen nowadays - good bird life though.

Ngorongoro crater. Cold when we were there - heed the warnings and ensure you take something to ward off the morning cold. A magical place though with abundant game. The Lemala camp seemed like a disappointment but we felt that it might not have been if the weather had been better.

Tarangire; an excellent camp in Oliver's and good game in particularly birds

The general organisation of the trip was pretty faultless (until we returned to Heathrow to find the Stansted express we use for the last leg home was not running) Camps and Lodges and all the interconnecting bits and pieces all worked together really well. Each driver who met us had printed name boards to find us with and named folders of permits etc and it all worked really well. They were friendly, bright, witty and informative, full marks to Primate safaris and to Asilia safaris

Elizabeth at Expert Africa made helpful suggestions before we decided on where to go and organised it all quietly in the background, sending their final ticket pack and useful information booklets a week or two before we left. We will undoubtedly use them again

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Rwanda
4-Jul-2014 review: Sabyinyo Silverback lodge and Rwanda gorillas
ExcellentExcellent
Kigali Serena Hotel, Rwanda
7-Jul-2014 review: Kigali Serena Hotel review
AverageAverage
Lamai Serengeti, Tanzania
8-Jul-2014 review: Lamai Serengeti review
ExcellentExcellent
Lemala Ngorongoro, Tanzania
11-Jul-2014 review: Lemala Ngorongoro camp
GoodGood
Oliver's Camp, Tanzania
13-Jul-2014 review: Oliver's camp review
ExcellentExcellent
Onsea House, Tanzania
17-Jul-2014 review: Onsea House review
ExcellentExcellent

My Sep 2012 trip

On this trip, I visited Tanzania between 27-Sep-2012 and 12-Oct-2012 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

Our ninth safari and a return for a second visit to Ruaha and Selous. The game and sightings were as good as any we have experienced before anywhere.

We saw three different lion hunt and kills, a crocodile/impala kill and an unsuccessful leopard hunt in daylight. We had good wild dog sightings, plenty of various antelope and an excellent range of smaller animals; add a total of 220 species of birds in 12 days, many lizards and even a few snakes this trip- 2 pythons and a green snake (it's a harmless species - I don't mean a mamba or boomslang). Both Ruaha and Selous remain game rich and less tourist full than many other destinations. Selous is a favorite over Ruaha because of the availability of water safaris but to us a mixture of places makes a trip and the paucity of available water in Ruaha just concentrates the game.

Guiding was excellent at all the three camps we went to and the camps themselves reflected the range from bush camp to luxurious with none of them having any shortcomings. As usual the camp staff were unfailingly pleasant and efficient. One does not usually notice the domestic staff side of things but all the camps manage hotel type efficiency of cleaning, clothes washing and ironing and food production and all done out in the bush far from civilization.

We approached Expert Africa with two itineraries; a Zambia trip was not on because places were already booked but it was clear that a Southern Tanzania one was possible and in fact everything we wanted fell into place within a few days. Claire was efficient, friendly and you get the impression with expert Africa that they will keep on trying to get your trip right. On this occasion there was no problem. Our documents arrived in plenty of time as promised.

An excellent and enjoyable trip- Thank you

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

Our second trip organised by you and faultless really. We are experienced safari fans so perhaps we know what we want and what to expect more than some (Africa being Africa!), however knowing that your staff will have actually visited and have experience of many of the camps is comforting when planning and discussing places to go.

It would be good to see you cover Kenya and particularly Uganda.

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Kwihala Camp, Tanzania
28-Sep-2012 review: Kwihala camp 2012
ExcellentExcellent
Selous Impala Camp, Tanzania
3-Oct-2012 review: Return to Impala camp 2012
ExcellentExcellent
Beho Beho, Tanzania
6-Oct-2012 review: First visit to Beho Beho
ExcellentExcellent
Southern Sun Dar, Tanzania
11-Oct-2012 review: Southern Sun Hotel
AverageAverage

Southern Tanzania safari

On this trip, I visited Tanzania between 12-Oct-2010 and 27-Oct-2010 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

We were very happy with most of our safari, Lake Manze camp excepted, and very happy with how Claire from Expert Africa helped us decide on places to go and the general organisation of the trip. Everything 'happened' as arranged and expected and that is not always the case in Africa so full marks to Expert Africa.
As seasoned African safari goers the Southern Tanzanian circuit was new to us but met our expectations with excellent game, wonderful bird life and beautiful locations in Ruaha and Selous.
If there was any blot it would be that being close to beach resorts means that you get a number of first time safari goers whose interest is superficial and where the safari is bolted on as some sort of exotic extra to a beach trip that is the tourist's main interest and some of the camps cater to this level of tourism. Selous tourism has evidently expanded in recent years and we fear that this will lead to safari tourism in the way some Northern Tanzanian (Ngorongoro) and Southern Kenyan (Mara) areas cater for

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Kwihala Camp, Tanzania
13-Oct-2010 review: Kwihala camp review
ExcellentExcellent
Lake Manze Adventure Camp, Tanzania
18-Oct-2010 review: Lake Manze camp review
AverageAverage
Selous Impala Camp, Tanzania
22-Oct-2010 review: Selous Impala camp stay
ExcellentExcellent
Sea Cliff Hotel, Tanzania
26-Oct-2010 review: Sea Cliff Hotel review
AverageAverage