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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs C from Wokingham

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

2

Countries visited

4

Lodges stayed in

14

Excursions taken

0

It was mostly very good with some disappoint

Tanzania between 4 Oct 2018 and 21 Oct 2018

Trip rating: Good
"Good.

Ive already exhausted myself writing detailed reviews of every aspect and my Tanzanian Tummy is beckoning me elsewhere very soon."

Arranged By Lyndsey Marris


Ras Kutani

Ras Kutani

"Really nice R&R before and after safari"

2 nights Arrived 5 Oct 2018
"I've just written a lengthy tripadvisor review of Ras Kutani, so this will have to be brief. We really enjoyed our stay and it gave a great opportunity to snooze and rest whilst watching the world go by. Room, staff, service and food were lovely and the setting beside the lagoon and ocean was wonderful.

Roads to/from the airport are a real trial and the journey takes 2-3 hours, but thats not RKs fault!!! The chaotic road journey does give you a chance to see Tanzanians going about their lives, which you'd miss if you flew."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Mdonya Old River Camp

Mdonya Old River Camp

"Mdonya Old River Camp review"

5 nights Arrived 7 Oct 2018
"Ive just written a lengthy tripadvisor review so this is a summary.

We wanted an authentic/green safari experience and thats exactly what Mdonya delivered. If you wanted electricity or hot water in darkness, or are worried about animals coming close, then its not for you.

The tent was comfortable, the service excellent, the game drives brilliant and the communal dining and conversation were highlights - even if the food wasn't quite high cuisine.

Close encounters of the animal kind were wonderful. Elephants 2-3 metres away and leopard hunting while we were at dinner.

The camp managers (Kingsley and Iris) were immensely helpful and really conveyed their enthusiasm for wildlife.

The guide/driver (Distmas & Eyoubi) had excellent knowledge and terrific animal sightings - plenty of lions including a hunt, leopards most days, elephants, etc etc etc

Not really about the camp but.... The flight from Dar to Ruaha with Safari-Airlink was a bit of a trial. The pilot very uncommunicative and flew at 12,500 ft with a plummeting descent that really hurt our ears, neck and head. The Coastal Aviation pilots were much more attentive, when asked they promised to give a more considerate descent, which was very gratefully received!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Selous Impala Camp

Selous Impala Camp

"Really a hotel with game drives attached"

5 nights Arrived 12 Oct 2018
"Ive just written a lengthy tripadvisor review, so this is a summary

More creature comfort than Mdonya with some very good staff - but lacking any obvious enthusiasm for safari/wildlife. Camp management was very low profile and not confident in dealing with europeans.

Our tent (No 1) was very comfortable but was a long walk. It benefitted from animals coming past to the river. If you want this, ask for tent 1-3. The Masai who escorted us was lovely.

Food and service were generally very good, with bush-babies and weaver birds coming to the table (may not suit everyone). We contracted Tanzanian Tummy during our visit which we're still recovering from. Camp management unfortunately put us in a dark secluded spot for dinner one night and my wife got dozens of horse-fly-looking bites, several became infected. We didnt want to eat there and now wish we'd refused.

Very few other guests - really felt a bit lonely. A constant succession of one-night visits by travel reps "doing research". Shame none of them asked guests for feedback - even if they travelled with their company. Very annoying to see what we were paying for and glad Expert Africa were not amongst them.

Guides were knowledgeable but more interested in charging about in the Land Cruiser. This gave our worst safari ride ever and tended to chase animals away. Complained to management and it improved but felt that driver/guide was sulking a bit and was finding it hard to locate anything new to show us after 3 days. Boat safari really worthwhile and bee-eater colony was very special.

All in all, a bit disappointing compared to Mdonya Old River Camp in Ruaha, but perhaps OK if you wanted a light safari experience"
Average
Location
Good
Service
Average
Activities
Average
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Average
Ras Kutani

Ras Kutani

"Ras Kutani review"

3 nights Arrived 17 Oct 2018
"Already written a review covering both stays [Ed: see below]"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent

My Mar 2014 trip

Namibia and 2 other countries between 20 Mar 2014 and 8 Apr 2014

Trip rating: Good
"We enjoyed the whole trip but there were some low spots to go with the many highlights.

We know that when we undertake a holiday like this it can be a bit of an adventure and thats part of the attraction.

Expert Africa could help with a slightly more detailed itinerary giving key directions where there are difficult spots to negotiate."

Okonjima Bush Camp

Okonjima Bush Camp

"Okonjima Bush Camp (upgraded to Lodge)"

2 nights Arrived 21 Mar 2014
"We were upgraded from Bush Camp to the Lodge - beautiful accomodation. We only briefly visited the Bush Camp so can't comment.

We went on an game drive and an afternoon "activity" to visit Africat. The game drive was excellent, and we found collared cheetahs and a leopard cub.

We couldn't do the Leopard game drive as other guests wanted to go to to the Bush Camp shop and to Africat and there was only one guide assigned to the lodge. This wasnt very successful - we spent a long time driving around an enclosure looking for cheetahs unsuccessfully (and got sunburned) and the presentation at Africat was a bit too much propaganda about what they were doing - however worthy the cause might be."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Average
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Halali Camp

Halali Camp

"Halali Camp"

2 nights Arrived 23 Mar 2014
"It was what we expected - adequate but not outstanding.

Room was in reasonable order for a rest camp - most fixtures and fittings worked. Food was better than expected. Reception was useless for any enquiries/help.

It was the end of the rainy season so we knew that game viewing might be poor - and it was. We drove almost every inch of the avaoilable roads and didn't see a single elephant or rhino in 3 days - there was so much water available in the bush that they didn't need to visit the waterholes. Not complaing but it might help other people's expectations.

We did see two groups of lions and quite a lot of small game near Namutoni.

We did meet some people who had got stuck in a muddy marked road to a waterhole. There was no cellphone coverage and the road hadn't been marked as closed. They told us they waited for another car and none came for 90 minutes so were settling down for a night in the car when another car appeared some distance away. The other family had a satphone and called the rangers who arrived as it was getting dark and got their car stuck in the mud - they had no radio!! It took several hours for all 4 of them to get free of the mud and by then it was completely dark.

From their experience, we'd suggest this:
Consider renting a sat-phone.

The rangers told them that the best thing to do if you're stuck at night is leave the engine running and put headlights on - then the anti-poaching patrol might spot you. (this doesnt appear in any guidance we've seen)"
Average
Location
Good
Service
Poor
Rooms
Average
Food
Good
Mushara Bush Camp

Mushara Bush Camp

"Mushara Bush Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 25 Mar 2014
"Good location for visiting east end of Etosha.

Tent was fine - but a bit noisy in the heavy rain overnight - just what you might expect"
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Good
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Hakusembe River Lodge

Hakusembe River Lodge

"Hakusembe Lodge review"

1 night Arrived 27 Mar 2014
"To reach this lodge you have to drive a long way on a dirt road which has several forks, lots of mud and at one stage was completely flooded for about 100m. There were no signs to say which way to go to get around the mud and the flood. When we left, were advised not to take detours around the flood/mud but I was so doubtful that I asked for a guide to show us the best way to get out - he was so used to the poor state of the road that he detoured around the flood - I can only imagine that they have become used to it, and assume that every customer knows how to get there despite the lack of any signs.

We were booked for B&B but it was fairly impractical to find an evening meal anywhere else. Thankfully they do a (chargeable) evening meal which was unexpected and welcome. The room was fine, and the evening meal (buffet) was good. But the service at breakfast was very poor.

As an overnight journey-breaker it was just about adequate but if theres an alternative I'd advise against going there - unless they at least sort out the dirt track and soem signs."
Poor
Location
Poor
Service
Poor
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Nunda River Lodge

Nunda River Lodge

"Nunda River Lodge review"

1 night Arrived 28 Mar 2014
"We stayed here twice - once on the way into Botswana and once on the way out. The location was excellent for our itinerary.

At last, when visiting Mahango National Park, we saw the first Elephants of our journey - 14 in all - and the only ones we saw in Namibia!! We liked ythis little reserve so much we visited it twice.

The lodge was comfortable and seemed well run with friendly and helpful staff and management."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Nxamaseri Lodge

Nxamaseri Lodge

"Nxamaseri Lodge review"

2 nights Arrived 29 Mar 2014
"This was an excellent spot for river activities - mainly fishing and birding. You have to drive into Botswana from Namibia and it would help if Expert Africa gave some better directions to get through the various road junctions just inside Botswana (the map shows a straight road). The staff at the border crossing were great - its little used so they like to chat to visitors! We were the 10th car that day when we left Botswana at about 2pm.

You are met at the roadside by your ranger ("Fish" in our case). You park your car in a nearby village and pay the local people to look after it. The ranger drives you and your baggage several Km to the waters edge, then you transfer to a boat which takes about half an hour to get you through dense reed beds to the island/lodge - quite an adventure in itself.

The river trips are lovely - the only disappointment is that "Fish" caught two Tiger Fish and I didn't catch any - but I can excuse him for that. For one morning we went off in a makora traditional canoe - its a bit like punting and Fish did all the work - and it was very enjoyable. Plenty of birds and hippos. I understand there are otters but we didn't see them. Fish and the lodge staff were all very helpful and friendly.

The manager (Tianne) was frankly so laid-back as to be almost horizontal. He omitted to mention the risk of the monkeys getting into the bungalow so it came as a bit of a shock to find they'd been through absolutely everything - and we found the folder that had once contained our travel documents down by the waters edge - guarded by a fairly big crocodile. When we told the manager about this - and the monkey excrement in the bathroom, he explained that "yes the monkeys are becoming a bit of a nuisance and maybe we'll try to make the room more monkey-proof". Then he yawned and wandered off.

Advice: If you visit Nxamaseri, put absolutely everything in cupboards or in zipped up suitcases. Don't let the risk of monkey-trouble put you off."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Average
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Nunda River Lodge

Nunda River Lodge

"Nunda River Lodge review"

1 night Arrived 31 Mar 2014
"See previous review - we stayed here twice."
Good
Lianshulu Lodge

Lianshulu Lodge

"Lianshulu Lodge review"

2 nights Arrived 1 Apr 2014
"Better directions would be useful. The M125 road is being re-built from gravel to a tarred road. You drive many Km along the new tarred road, then off onto the gravel - as a consquence of the road work, we missed the signs for Lianshulu and the Mudumu Park completely as they are located on the other side of the road construction. Luckily we stumbled on the game drive vehicle several Km past the sign and he led us back. The manager explained that she has put up temporary signs but they kept disappearing.

The lodge is lovely, and the bungalow was simply superb. Food and service were very very good and Annetta and her staff couldn't have been more attentive.

We went on a couple of river trips and a game drive. We didn't really see much on the game drive (possibly due to the season) but we did see plenty of the river trips - including plenty of birds, and Elephants and Hippos opposite the lodge."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Muchenje Safari Lodge

Muchenje Safari Lodge

"Muchenje Safari Lodge review"

2 nights Arrived 3 Apr 2014
"Into Botswana for the second time. We had been in Namibia for 2 weeks and seen only about 20 Elephants (not that they are the only way of assessing a holiday!). As we crossed Ngoma Bridge into Botswana we saw around 100 in the river, and as we left the Botswana border post a procession of Ellies walked cross the road in front of us.

Muchenje occupies a stunning position looking across the river flood plain - I don't think we have ever seen anything so spectacular.

The managers made us feel very welcome and indeed all of the staff were very helpful and friendly. The room was very nice and the food was excellent.

We missed the elephants that had walked past our bungalow in the night (a shame) but we were walked to and fro in darkness by the lodge's security staff. We went on an afternoon game drives then the next day on an all-day boat trip and game drive which was very rewarding - but perhaps too long and a bit uncomfortable. We didn't count them , but we must have seen over 2,000 ellies in a day and a herd of 1,000+ buffaloes. The sheer quantity was staggering when compared to time spent in Namibia. The highlight was probably lunch on the river trip with ellies palying in the water just a few feet away.

Simply Wonderful - wished we had stayed there longer."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Victoria Falls Safari Lodge

Victoria Falls Safari Lodge

"Victoria Falls Safari Lodge review"

2 nights Arrived 5 Apr 2014
"We had been recommended this by Expert Africa and by a friend who had vsiited some years ago, but it was rather disappointing.

We arrived at the hotel around 1:30pm after a long bus transfer. From that point just about everything went wrong in some way - rooms not ready, wrong room allocated, disappearing porters, lost table reservation, inedible food, incorrect bill, wrong time given for transfer to airport, etc etc. And the room was extremely tatty with damaged furnishings and decoration and poor security. A long list of items, each of which would have been tolerable, but it felt like a concerted effort to get absolutely everything wrong. Maybe we were just unlucky!

As we checked out, the deputy manager appeared and asked us if we'd enjoyed our stay - our response was cut short because we were rushing to get on the transfer bus which was nearly an hour before we were told it was due. We suggested to this unfortunate chap that he might read the customer service questionnaire in the room - and when we arrived home we received an emailed apology and a refund for all food/drink (which 3 days later has not been posted to our credit card).

The hotel is located out of town and looks over bush and a waterhole. This was interesting to watch but as we were only there for 2 nights we didn't spend an awful lot of time watching.

The hotel restaurant was simply awful - but the food and service in the Buffalo Bar (open until 6pm) was very nice and the staff were very friendly and helpful. Don't miss the vulture-feeding at 1pm. We enjoyed the visit from the 3ft long monitor lizard who climbed into our room, and the banded mongooses who seemed to live in a large drain pipe next to our room. BUT beware they do have a monkey problem (which they did forewarn us about) so make sure your room is secure against them.

We visited the Victoria Falls Park (US$30 each, by the way), and the falls themselves are truly remarkable. As it was the end of the rainy season the river was full, which added to the spectacle. For future visitors, please note that the falls send up a spray that goes way up into the air and falls on you like a rainstorm.

We booked to go on the sunset tour on the tram over the Victoria Falls railway bridge. Quite expensive (US$60 each) but very enjoyable. As I'm into trains I'd arranged in advance to go and visit the steam locomotive in the goods yard beforehand and they took us in the tram to the splendour of the Victoria Falls Hotel, ready for the sunset tour. As I didn't stay there, I can't review it, but it looked palacial.

Advice to future visitors:

If you visit the falls you are going to get soaked through despite waterproofs etc, so dress accordingly and take dry socks and maybe shoes etc in a plastic bag. There are towels at the parks cafe and some charming waitresses.

The sunset tram does take you into Zambia a bit but no stamps in your passport so the Yellow Fever vaccination issue doesnt arise.

Curio vendors, beggars, and street traders abound and can be a pest. How many times was I offered a Zim$1Bn bill for US$1? They would even accept your trainers, socks or T-shirt in payment. If you don't enjoy that kind of experience avoid the hotspots.

Everything in Vic Falls is expensive and priced in US$. This means that tips for restaurants, transfer bus drivers and just about anyone else with an outstretched palm can mount up, and your $US supply will soon be depleted. The Safari Lodge isnt any help in changing large denomination bills so I suggest taking at least US$20/day in single dollar bills.

You can buy Zimbabwe entry visas as you enter Zimbabwe. But its a mellee and despite notices warning that its an offence, tour guides are jumping the queue and hassling the officials so we waited an hour at immigration - and it probably wasn't as busy as it gets in high season. Our transfer bus driver told us that if we'd bought our visas in UK he could have got us through much quicker."
Poor
Location
Good
Service
Poor
Rooms
Poor
Food
Poor

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