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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs B from Dersingham

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

4

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

13

Excursions taken

0

Mwamba and Kaingo - June 2018

Zambia between 9 Jun 2018 and 19 Jun 2018

Trip rating: Excellent
"We had a wonderful time. This was our fourth visit to South Luangwa so we knew what to expect. Everything ran smoothly - from an easy and rapid booking process to the flights and transfers. It was really good to have the spacious family chalet (again!) at Kaingo, and to have Andrew and Yoram as guides, both of whom have been excellent in the past.

The very recent addition of electric battery charging points in each chalet at Mwamba was a welcome touch. This is worth mentioning to future travelers as it means that there is no longer a need to try to conserve camera battery life when staying there for a few days."

Mwamba Bushcamp

Mwamba Bushcamp

"Mwamba - rustic but not roughing it!"

4 nights Arrived 10 Jun 2018
"The location of Mwamba gives it a truly remote feeling, where the boundaries between natural bush and the camp are very blurred. The four reed and thatch chalets are well hidden under the trees with spacious open-air bathrooms. Plentiful hot water for the shower and hand basin are provided by a bucket system, which can be requested on demand, or delivered at a set time. The provision of electric charging points for camera batteries etc is a welcome new feature.

Eating and drinking in the open air - be it breakfast, brunch or dinner - is a joy.

All the staff are friendly and helpful. On this visit our guide Andrew Mweetwa showed once again his superb knowledge and bushcraft, and was excellent company. Managers Craig and Lindy were very attentive, and Craig's helpful pointers in the hide were very much appreciated.

The high point of our stay was our first-ever sighting of African wild dogs, Andrew came back from a game drive to fetch us from the camp (where we had elected to stay one morning for an extended hide visit) in order to find them. Great service indeed!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Kaingo Camp

Kaingo Camp

"Kaingo - a touch of luxury"

4 nights Arrived 14 Jun 2018
"Our fourth visit and it gets better every time! Everything about this camp experience must be at the top end of the scale. We were welcomed as old friends by many members of staff and looked after exceedingly well. Catherine and her team excelled themselves yet again, keeping us well provided with food of an outstanding quality.

Our guide at Kaingo was Yoram, once again. His knowledge is wide-ranging and he picked up on our interest in birds, spotting and identifying many that we hadn't seen, let alone known before. His tracking skills are outstanding - we were so impressed with his ability to locate leopards that seemed totally hidden in deep bush, and lions that were calling softly from a distance. As always, his positioning of the vehicle to get the best light for photography was exemplary.

We traveled in June this year - earlier than ever before. We saw a much greener landscape, with more water in lagoons and channels, but the downside of this was that the game was more dispersed. However we saw different packs of wild dogs - our first sightings ever. Like nearly all the animals they were relaxed and unbothered by our presence."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

Another great trip with Expert Africa

Zambia between 20 Aug 2017 and 30 Aug 2017

Trip rating: Excellent
"This was an excellent holiday. We had visited Tafika and Kaingo twice before so had a good idea of what to expect, but Chikoko Tree Camp, and the walking activities there, were a new experience. Walking safaris are totally different from driving safaris and proved a great new experience for us, but not to be recommended for the faint of heart or anyone who is not physically fit. On one afternoon walk we had to make numerous detours due to encounters with elephants (a great experience!) and therefore had to walk at a fast pace in order to arrive back at camp just as darkness fell.

We did find the 30-hour journeys between the UK and Zambia more tiring than when there was a direct flight from Heathrow to Lusaka. We might consider an overnight stay, or an airline class upgrade on the night-time leg of the journey, should we decide on a repeat visit.

Our booking experience through Amanda was easy. She quickly grasped what our requirements were. As before with Expert Africa staff we were impressed that we were not pushed to do things that we didn't want. Amanda kept us up to date with progress regularly and very promptly via email.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

It was very good to be met by a Tours Africa representative at Lusaka airport. He had our names on a board, and collected our luggage while we obtained our visas. We weren't 100% sure that this would happen, as your 'Notes for travellers to Zambia' booklet says on page 11 "they'll normally meet you". First time travellers would find the meeting service very helpful, and the knowledge that it would actually happen very re-assuring."

Tafika

Tafika

"Too short a time at Tafika"

2 nights Arrived 21 Aug 2017
"We had wanted to stay longer but when we were booking there were no more free places. It was disappointing to find when we arrived that those reservations had not been taken up, so in fact we could have stayed longer.

This was our third visit to Tafika and when we arrived we were greeted like old friends even though it was four years since we last visited. There were many familiar faces. One new face - Tatti - is a real asset to the camp, being friendly, engaging and pro-active.

The rooms, décor and routine were all comfortingly familiar - when something works so well you don't need to change it.

Guiding, as usual, from Bryan and Lloyd was of the highest standard."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Chikoko Tree Camp

Chikoko Tree Camp

"Walking into a totally different experience"

2 nights Arrived 23 Aug 2017
"On foot you are in much closer contact with the natural environment than when you are in a vehicle. On the Chikoko side of the river there are no vehicles, and no other nearby camp, adding to its feeling of remoteness.

We were surprised to be walking through such dense vegetation, where visibility was very limited at times. The scout and guide (Bryan) communicated with each other - often by silent signs - and were clearly used to working together. This proved very useful when we encountered hippo and elephant at very close quarters and had to take evasive action!

We saw the bush kitchen with its wood-burning open fires and 'hole-in-the-ground' oven, and can vouch for the excellence of the variety and quality of meals they produced."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kaingo Camp

Kaingo Camp

"Our return to a new look Kaingo"

4 nights Arrived 25 Aug 2017
"On arrival at Kaingo we were greeted by two elephants in camp, and they were there again to wave us off when we left!
We really appreciated the newly extended family chalet, with its private outside bath and shower (there is an inside shower too!), and very spacious sitting room.

It was good to see familiar faces among the guides, including Andrew and Patrick who recognised that we had been to Kaingo previously. The management staff were all fresh faces to us - Gerard and Agata in particular were very friendly and helpful.

This time our guide was Yoram whose skills as a guide really made our stay at Kaingo. He has an amazing ability to find wildlife of all sorts. We saw a huge range of species, many of which we had not seen before. Yoram knew exactly where to take us for the best views of leopards. We saw leopard and/or lion each time we went out. We still don't know how he managed to spot a tiny Scops owl perched fully camouflaged in a track-side tree."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

South Luangwa re-visited

Zambia between 18 Sep 2013 and 30 Sep 2013

Trip rating: Excellent
"This was the second time we had visited Zambia. We liked our first trip two years ago so much that we returned to exactly the same camps, changing only the order in which we visited them. In all our travels this is the first time that we have ever done that, and we were not disappointed.

Of course we saw many of the same animals as before, but every encounter is different, and we now have even more precious memories and photographs."

Arranged By Claire Scott


Tafika

Tafika

"Our second wonderful stay at Tafika"

3 nights Arrived 19 Sep 2013
"It was great to be welcomed back like old friends, and soon settled into the routine of the camp. The meals are superb with such a rich variety of dishes. There is no way you can remain hungry at Tafika! We had excellent game viewing, though just missed out on seeing wild dogs and lions - just the luck of the draw as they had been around both before and after our stay. The highlight for us was to sit and watch the hundreds of crowned cranes arriving at the salt springs area from their overnight roost.

This time we had asked to visit the local village and school which is supported by the Tafika Fund. We were guests of honour at the school, where we were entertained by children of all ages singing, dancing and reciting poems they had written. Wherever we went in the village we were surrounded by crowds of young children, all wanting to have their photo taken - and then to see the results on our cameras. A really worthwhile experience, and highly recommended."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Mwamba Bushcamp

Mwamba Bushcamp

"Mwamba revisited"

3 nights Arrived 22 Sep 2013
"After a river crossing by canoe we were met by Vickson for the drive in. On arrival we were enthusiastically greeted by Izzy, who helped us settle in. Our first activity was a visit to the water hole hide, just beside our hut/chalet. In this particularly dry year there was plenty of game - elephants drinking and bathing, impala, and the shy kudu, as well as all the birds, and the ever-present baboons. That same day the afternoon game drive brought us face to face with buffalo, giraffe, zebra and lots of birds.

Animal encounters were more than just those viewed from a vehicle or hide. One night we were kept awake by the deep breathing of the elephant, which chose to doze right outside our chalet. In fact we didn't get our usual bucket of hot water for the shower that morning, as the elephant was still in the way! And we will never forget the bushbuck that almost joined us for lunch on our veranda one day.

The guides and scouts/spotters at Mwamba deserve special mention. Meyam and Vickson are just so knowledgeable, and impart that expertise with such good humour, always making it seem fresh to them every time even though they must have seen many of the sights and activities day after day."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Kaingo Camp

Kaingo Camp

"A fitting finale"

4 nights Arrived 25 Sep 2013
"This time we reversed the order in which we stayed at Kaingo and Mwamba, deliberately choosing to keep Kaingo till last. This was because of its superb location on the bank of the Luangwa - what better place to have your lunch than on your own private deck overlooking the river, watching elephant, giraffe and antelope on the other bank, while hippos, crocs and various birds kept us engaged the whole time closer by.

Game viewing throughout our stay was excellent, and we were lucky enough to have Andrew as our guide. His detailed knowledge of the lions we saw, and interpretation of their activities, added an extra dimension to our enjoyment. Besides the lions Andrew's skills also brought us multiple encounters with leopards, both by day and at night. With all the animals we saw, Andrew placed our vehicle in the best position for photography, whilst at the same time taking every care not to distract them."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Pioneer Camp

Pioneer Camp

"Our last night in Zambia"

1 night Arrived 29 Sep 2013
"We stayed at Pioneer Camp on our last night in Zambia, prior to an early flight back to the UK. The transfers, both in and out, were efficient.

Paul, our host, was most welcoming, and volunteered to do our on-line check-in for our homeward flight, even asking us for our seating preferences."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good

Safari in South Luangwa

Zambia between 14 Sep 2011 and 26 Sep 2011

Trip rating: Excellent
"We had a wonderful time! The lodges and camps were very much as we expected - or even better. It is true that one can 'travel light' because washing really does come back on the same day. Our sightings of wildlife were beyond our expectations and have left us with some marvellous memories - and hundreds of photos. We saw leopards on no fewer that seven occasions, and lions that were within touching diistance, not to mention all the antelopes, birds and other animals.

Unfortunately there was one event that could have spoilt our holiday had we not been fairly seasoned travellers who do not easliy panic. On arrival at Lusaka we discovered that our names were not on the Proflight list for the flight to Mfuwe, and it was full. The existence of our Expert Africa voucher for the flight proved totally worthless. Fortunatey we were assisted by staff from Tours Africa, who tried to contact Expert Africa for us but it was before office hours in the UK, and Chris McIntyre's phone was on voicemail.

They then contacted Heather at Tafika, and she sorted out an eTicket for the midday flight. All this meant we lost a morning hanging around at Lusaka airport, when we were expecting to be travelling out to the Luangwa valley. When we did arrive at Mfuwe we were met by a driver who had had to make an extra round trip to pick us up when he should have been on his way to one of the Tafika bushcamps. So our arrival at Tafika was all very rushed in the end, and not at all the relaxing start to a holiday that had been planned.

We would point out that Heather also checked our return Proflight flight, and passed on an eTicket (booked by Claire Scott), as there was no booking for that either. She also checked with Shentons that they were expecting us. Considering that this holiday was booked in early February this experience was very disappointing."

Arranged By Lucy Copson


Tafika

Tafika

"Tafika - our first experience of Zambia"

3 nights Arrived 15 Sep 2011
"Tafika is a wonderful place and all the staff worked hard to make us feel at home. The meals were varied and of very high quality. We appreciated the use of fresh ingredients from their garden. Our chalet had a superb view of the river. The bedroom is spacious, and the bed very comfortable.

Thank goodness we had been warned about a possible night visit from their cat - otherwise it would have been very scary!

The wildlife experience was magical. The hippos sounded so close to our chalet because they were - grazing just inches behind our bedhead during the night!!

We chose Tafika because of the possibility of microlight flights over the bush - a thrilling experience not to be missed.

The game drives were very productive - every one brought something new and each drive was well interpreted for us by the various guides. Tafika's policy is to rotate the guides. The downside of this is that explanations and descriptions are repeated, but the plus side is getting their range of expertise. A highlight was an excellent daytime sighting of a leopard which Stephen spotted from an amazing distance then got us close enough for photography. On one night drive we were lucky to get a good sighting of a Pel's Fishing Owl. On other nights we saw a lion kill at close quarters and found serval - a real treat.

The new carmine bee eater hide was well worth a visit, though they agreed that a little more screening would allow access with less disturbance to the birds (it might have been done by now!)

We must repeat our thanks to Heather, who sorted out a little hiccup with our travel arrangements!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kaingo Camp

Kaingo Camp

"Kaingo = can do"

4 nights Arrived 18 Sep 2011
"Our arrival by canoe, crossing the Luangwa (avoiding the hippos and crocs!), was a fitting start to a fantastic few days. We loved the variety of habitats - the plains, the forests, the river - supporting such a wealth of game and birds.

Highlights were lion cubs playing while the adults were sleeping off their 'supper'; watching hundreds of buffalo come down to the river to drink and counting over 70 vultures waiting for the lions to vacate a buffalo kill. And that is not to mention the 'action' at the hippo hide. and the wonderful spectacle of myriad carmine bee eaters seen from the hide in the early morning light - pure magic!

All the guides are amazingly knowledgable, and eager to pass on that knowledge to their guests in a lighthearted but informative manner - the sign of true professionals. Every question was answered - however complex or simple it may have been. Their enthusiasm was plain to see.

Life in Kaingo was extremely comfortable, with all the staff being so attentive. Three activities a day made for a busy schedule, and lunch on our own deck watching the continuous parade of wildlife on the river provided some wonderful relaxation."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Mwamba Bushcamp

Mwamba Bushcamp

"Magical Mwamba"

3 nights Arrived 22 Sep 2011
"Mwamba is a true bushcamp, where we felt that much closer to the wildlife than anywhere else we stayed. We were totally immersed in the sounds and sights of the bush from dawn to dusk and beyond. Being escorted to our chalet after dark proved essential on two evenings when we were visited by hyena and elephant.

We were so lucky to have Meyam as our guide for the duration of our stay at Mwamba - his expert knowledge on everything from the smallest insect to the biggest animals made a great experience even deeper. Every drive and walk brought new sightings and variety. On our first evening here we followed a hunting leopard for over an hour. Unfortunately for the leopard its hunt was interrupted by the appearance of a group of lions.

We ended up sitting in the midst of that lion hunt in the dark, with impala rushing past the vehicle hotly pursued by the lions! On our last morning we were on our own with Meyam who responded to our request with a specific 'birding' drive when we saw many brds not previously encountered.

Debbie runs the camp in a friendly and efficient manner; all the staff took delight in their roles and looked after us extremely well. We really didn't want to leave!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Pioneer Camp

Pioneer Camp

"Pioneer Camp"

1 night Arrived 25 Sep 2011
"A good choice for a positioning night before the early morning flight to London the next day. The staff were friendly and helpful - Paul the manager volunteered to check us in for our flight without being asked.

Our only criticism was that we would not have described our chalet as 'Luxury', compared with what we had been used to for ten days in the Luangwa valley.

The transfers from and back to the airport were efficient."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Good
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good

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