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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Peacocks/LC from USA

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

3

Countries visited

3

Lodges stayed in

11

Excursions taken

0

Wildlife Conservation Safari

Botswana between 16 Aug 2017 and 30 Aug 2017

Trip rating: Excellent
"We returned to Botswana again this year to rejuvenate our sprits.

Wildlife conservation in Africa is our passion, but the rate of decline in much of Africa due to the loss of habitat, poaching, drought and other factors leaves us discouraged.

Botswana is the antidote. The wildlife population is stable, the government has a conservation ethic, and the population values their wildlife as a national treasure.

We can't wait to return."

Botswana Private Mobile Safari

Botswana Private Mobile Safari

"Harkness/Khwai Mobile Camp"

5 nights Arrived 16 Aug 2017
"This was our second safari with Andrew Harkness and his team (see our review from August 2016). There are several advantages to a private mobile safari:

1. Value - you get a unique experience at very favorable rates;
2. Expert guiding - Andrew is one of the best young guides in Botswana:
3. Food - Again we had the best cuisine prepared by Andrew's crew (over the fire); The quality was better than in any of the "sophisticated" camps:
4. The small details -- Andrew and his team show up on time, do what they say they're going to do, attend to all the small details, and produce a wonderful experience. He also has a wicked sense of humor.

The Khwai Community concession has "self-drive" tourists who can fail to maintain the "bush etiquette", but the wildlife viewing is consistently excellent. Lions, elephants, Painted dogs, leopards et al. We'd recommend combining a Harkness Safari with camps on the private concessions. The overall experience becomes a more authentic safari."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
DumaTau Camp

DumaTau Camp

"Nearly a mistake."

4 nights Arrived 21 Aug 2017
"Duma Tau was recommended as a combination of semi-luxury, (as we had begun our trip on a more rugged private mobile safari), and excellent wildlife viewing. We knew from past experience that Wilderness Safaris camps can be a bit "corporate" for our tastes, so we asked Expert Africa to communicate our wishes to Johan, the camp manager, in advance. We arrived to learn he was on "sabbatical" and had failed to pass along our message. Fortunately, the interim manager, "Momma Bee", interviewed us carefully and then tailored our four day stay. She took great pride in delivering an experience beyond the ordinary.

One caution to "seasoned" safari travelers: Duma Tau attracted the most obnoxious Americans we encountered on our trip.

The camp is in a beautiful location which combines water, mopane woodlands, and exceptional terrain along the Savuti channel. The wildlife this year was largely absent at Duma Tau, but because Wilderness has three properties in the concession we were able to roam into both King's Pool and Savuti Camp territories where we had exceptional viewings of lions, leopard and even a male cheetah."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Facilities
Average
Selinda Explorers Camp

Selinda Explorers Camp

"Second visit to Selinda Explorers"

3 nights Arrived 25 Aug 2017
"Selinda Explorers is unique in many ways. First of all, the camp is located along the beautiful Selinda Spillway. Second, the design of the camp, the management, and the guides are excellent.

Based upon two visits, first in August 2016 and again in August 2017, the wildlife viewing has been the best we have experienced. It's not the quantity, but the quality.

When we arrived, our excellent guide, Parks, was concerned that the resident lions had departed to follow the cape buffalo who migrate through the region. We knew that there is always a risk that the wildlife you hope to see will have moved to another area. Well, we told him to cheer up and went on to explain that we possessed “Bush Luck”. Wherever we travel in the African bush, the wildlife is attracted to us. Sure enough, as we were returning to camp in the failing evening light my wife called “there they are!” The lions were moving through the bush parallel to our vehicle. They had returned. The Selinda Pride, as they are known are among the most beautiful lions in Africa. They have a reputation throughout Botswana as the strongest and most successful pride. They are Buffalo hunters. They hunt as a large team. Last year they were twenty-one strong. In 2017 there were fifteen due to the departure of six adult females that had moved to populate other areas. Over the next two days, the Selinda Pride were to provide some memorable experiences.

The following morning as we drove along the river we witnessed the pride at play. They would chase each other in and out of the water playing like huge powerful kittens! The guide explained that their play was how they built stamina, agility, speed and balance that they would later use in their hunting. We had only seen lions swim once before, in Zambia. It was quite a sight.
We have learned to sit and wait, sometimes for hours, in order to see special behavior. There was another couple with us in the vehicle who wanted to go back to camp for a midday siesta, so we dropped them off and returned to wait while the lion pride rested through the hot afternoon. Sure enough, in late afternoon they awoke and after a drink positioned themselves for the evening’s hunt. As we watched, a large male giraffe wandered into their zone and the hunt was on. The lions crept into position through the tall grass. Their planned strategy was to have the largest female attack the giraffe head-on, leap up at the giraffe’s throat and hang on while the others attacked from the sides. What we witnessed gave us a new appreciation for giraffes. We learned a male giraffe can deliver a lethal kick, so lions dare not attack from the rear. We also learned that giraffes are not stupid. They know the lions’ strategy. The old male positioned a thick bush between himself and the lead lion so she couldn’t get a clean run at him. The hours passed and as darkness fell the standoff continued. Eventually we learned he had made his escape.

As we were moving to our vehicle the following morning our guide excitedly pushed us to get in then raced less than a hundred yards to where the lions had killed a warthog that had been hanging around our camp. We learned they had paraded through our camp as we were rising at 5:30. Warthog for breakfast, then we followed as they returned to the river for another round of playtime by the water.

Later that day we were driving when we encountered a large lioness with three beautiful cubs. The guide explained that the mother had hidden the cubs for safety in the woodland for several weeks. She had decided it was time to reintroduce them to their pride. It was a long hot march and we followed them for several miles. By lunchtime they completed the hike and were reunited. Lions are very social cats. Leopards, and tigers and cheetahs are solitary, but lions rely on a social structure in their pride which is remarkable.

We were also fortunate to again see the rare and endangered African Painted dogs. After visiting a den site with twelve adults and fifteen young puppies, the pack raced off on their early evening hunt. Our guide took off after them in the vehicle -- crashing through the brush — racing across streams — winding over hill and dale with my wife calling “Tally Ho!” as we raced in pursuit. Again we were rewarded with a rare sighting of four of the dogs taking down a male antelope. Unlike lions, the painted dogs almost never miss. Their speed and their ability to run long distances gives them the advantage. Remarkable athletes! Why are they endangered? Because man has hunted them and the domestic dogs in the villages pass along infectious diseases like rabies. It’s estimated there are less than four thousand left in the continent.

So, even though you can never predict when wildlife will make an appearance, Selinda Explorers has been very good to us. Frankly, Explorers has become our favorite camp in Botswana."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Chitabe Lediba

Chitabe Lediba

"Variety at Lediba"

2 nights Arrived 28 Aug 2017
"We chose Chitabe Lediba as our final camp because of it's reputation for high quality game viewing.

We experienced excellent management, a wonderful experienced resident guide in Duke, and a wide variety of excellent game. The terrain is an interesting mix of water filled channels, dry upland, and plains bordering the southern boundary of the Moremi.

Elephants were resident, the birdlife was exceptional as many species were feeding on aquatic life in the receding waterholes and channels, there were two resident lion prides, a female leopard and her cub, resident painted dogs, and finally a beautiful female cheetah. The journey along the northern channel was a "garden of eden" mix of impala, kudu, giraffe, zebra, warthog and elephant. Lediba would be exceptional in the Green season."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

Botswana exceeded expectations

Botswana between 20 Aug 2016 and 4 Sep 2016

Trip rating: Excellent
"My spouse and I are dedicated supporters of International wildlife conservation.

Frankly there are many tragic stories in well known countries in Africa that have experienced catastrophic losses in population of major species like Rhino, Elephant, Lions, Cheetahs, Painted Dogs and on and on due to poaching and loss of habitat.

We wanted to experience first hand what was different about Botswana.

The good news is Botswana is the "crown jewel" of African wildlife. In a little over two weeks we experienced:
* A healthy pride of 21 lions
* A pack of Painted dogs with 12 adults and 15 puppies!
* Superb bird life
* Multiple Leopards
* Huge, unstressed herds of elephant
* Honey badgers, Bat-eared fox, genets, hyenas and pups...
All that and people who were kind and gracious to us at every turn.

It was so great we are already scheduling our next safari to Botswana."

Arranged By Megan Green


Selinda Explorers Camp

Selinda Explorers Camp

"First rate Explorers on third Safari"

4 nights Arrived 21 Aug 2016
"When we planned our safari we asked Expert Africa to choose camps that met three requirements:
Excellent game viewing
Excellent location
Excellent management that wasn't too "corporate".

We had been spoiled by mobile safaris in Zimbabwe and we were concerned that Botswana camps would cater to guests who preferred creature comforts over unique experiences.

Selinda Explorers was so exceptional we are alerting attempting to return in 2017."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Little Kwara

Little Kwara

"Thank goodness for a great guide."

3 nights Arrived 25 Aug 2016
"Little Kwara was included in our safari itinerary to give us a taste of the Okavango Delta.

As this was our third safari to Southern Africa we wanted to experience the Delta, but game viewing was our #1 priority.

Fortunately we had a great guide in Tom Nkwazi, who quickly picked up on the fact that we had been spoiled by having superb private guiding on our two previous safaris in Zimbabwe. Tom made a point to create a unique experience. Thanks to his efforts, we had great experiences with Leopards, Painted Dogs and two female lions with cubs. His knowledge was broad and his professionalism obvious. He knew his birds and flora and he handled us with skill and enthusiasm.

All his efforts balanced out the fact that Little Kwara had just had a major bush fire, had a new inexperienced co-manager, and is obviously due for a scheduled refurbishing. The shower and the gas geysers needed repair and the physical camp is pretty tired.

It just goes to show, when on safari it's not the accommodations that are important. It's the people. Tom rescued our three day experience."
Average
Location
Excellent
Service
Average
Activities
Average
Rooms
Average
Food
Average
Facilities
Average
Botswana Private Mobile Safari

Botswana Private Mobile Safari

"Andrew Harkness Six Day Mobile Safari"

6 nights Arrived 28 Aug 2016
"This was our first mobile safari in Botswana, but we had been spoiled by superb private guiding in Zimbabwe on two previous trips.

Our standards were extremely high.

When Expert Africa suggested a six day mobile with a thirty three year old guide and his crew we felt it would be difficult to measure up to our previous experiences. Wow! Were we surprised.

Andrew Harkness grew up in England, but in the years since he emigrated to Botswana he has walked hundreds of kilometers in the Delta and back country, apprenticed with the "old school" private guides, and built a really fine mobile safari operation.

Andrew is fastidious. He attends to every detail with patience and a great sense of what will create a unique experience for the client. He manages his team with a firm but kind touch, and his spouse Pippa creates plans that are flawless.

We have stayed in some fine fixed camps in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana, but none have come close to the quality of cuisine and preparation delivered by Andrew's team.

His overall knowledge, sense of fun, tracking and safety ability, and execution are second to none. We are in the process of booking another week with Andrew and Harkness safaris for next August. He's that good."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

Our Safari to Zimbabwe and Zambia

Zambia and 1 other country between 28 Aug 2012 and 10 Sep 2012

Trip rating: Excellent
"Excellent trip.

Claire Scott was careful to not overstate any details, and we are already beginning to plan next year's safari."

Arranged By Claire Scott


Hwange Bush Camp

Hwange Bush Camp

"Luxury Mobile Tented Hwange & Andrew Dalzell"

6 nights Arrived 28 Aug 2012
"This was our second safari to Zimbabwe. Our guide, Andrew Dalzell, who we met in 2011 at Mana Pools, was so exceptional that we asked Claire Scott of Expert Africa to create a week long Mobile Safari that was flexible enough to let Andrew create a series of unique wildlife experiences. He met us at Hwange Main Camp and over the next six days we had one of the most fascinating and exciting times of our lives. Some highlights:

* Walking with Andrew and his 60+ year old tracker, Felix then encountering elephants in a close thicket!
That got the blood pumping!
Hundreds of elephant come to Hwange this time of year.
* Two male lion brothers and their lionesses with four cubs at a fresh elephant kill;
* Sighting 3 rare Oryx, a magnificent desert antelope that Andrew had never encountered in 26 years of guiding.
To see such an experienced pro get so excited over a fresh discovery was a treat.
* A day hike searching for a male lion -- following Felix's uncanny tracking skill over rock and through brush.
After a day of searching, Felix spotted him looking down at us from a rocky hide and we were able to track
the nomadic male's progress through our binoculars.
Having never attempted mobile tenting before, we were a little apprehensive, but Andrew and the three man crew from Kazuma Trails delivered. The tents were excellent, the en suite feature made my spouse and me comfortable, the food was as good or better than we had at more expensive camps last year. Frankly, you expect something to go wrong, but the crew delivered safety, comfort and a unique experience that we'd recommend to others without reservation."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Nkwali

Nkwali

"Brief stop at Nkwali"

1 night Arrived 3 Sep 2012
"We only stayed one night at Nkwali before moving on to Nsefu.

The trip to South Luangwa was exhausting. Nkwali provided a comfortable bed, then we moved on the next morning."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Nsefu

Nsefu

"Three day safari at Nsefu Camp"

3 nights Arrived 4 Sep 2012
"Coming off a custom mobile tented safari with a very experienced Professional guide in Zimbabwe, we felt we needed to avoid comparisons. The Robin Pope Safari team was very professional and we loved Nsefu Camp, it's setting overlooking the river, and had no complaints with the food staff or service.
Some Highlights:
* The elephants were less aggressive than in Zimbabwe and smaller due to the selective poaching of the large bulls.
The villagers still do selective poaching, but the international pressure had slowed the process.
One highlight was watching a maternal group of elephants swim the river with the baby elephants clutching their Mother's tails.
* Encountering five lions that had killed a young Cape Buffalo. In total, we came in close contact with nearly twenty lions over the three days at Nsefu.
* Finding a young female leopard who was as curious about us as we were about her. Magnificent to see in the daylight!
* We found a three female pack of the rare African Painted dogs as they moved along the river bank. Painted dogs are endangered and hadn't been seen in the area in some time.
* Leopards are difficult to find during daylight, but we were lucky to witness an hour long battle between a troop of 50+ yellow baboons and a female leopard they had chased into a large tree. She survived, but must have had quite a headache from all the baboon screeching!
My spouse loved Nsefu's decor and we found the food, staff and Roundels charming."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Tena Tena

Tena Tena

"Three day safari at new Tena Tena Camp"

3 nights Arrived 7 Sep 2012
"Tena Tena camp has been rebuilt on a new location back from the Luangwa River. The Robin Pope Safaris team was very good, but there were still some details being ironed out during our stay. The shower in Tent #2 was designed to be eco-friendly, but we had great difficulty with it's operation and had either cold or scalding water two of three days. The camp's location is also less attractive than Nsefu Camp.
The highlight of our three days was witnessing five lions swimming across the Luangwa river in morning light. Our guide said they usually cross at night and he had only witnessed such a swim twice in five years.

We also saw three male and one female lion on a buffalo kill, and another group of eight lionesses close to another kill.

The lions were taking advantage of the buffalos' weakened condition this time of year. All told, we must have seen nearly twenty lions near Tena Tena."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good

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