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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Ms O & Mr T from Herts

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

2

Lodges stayed in

4

Excursions taken

0

A FANTASTIC TRIP, INCREDIBLY WELL ORGANISED

Rwanda and 1 other country between 18 Feb 2012 and 3 Mar 2012

Trip rating: Excellent
"We are hard core independent travellers but booking this trip with Expert Africa has made us re-evaluate the possibility of using this sort of service again. Right from the very beginning, our contact Ellie was superb. Knowledgeable, friendly and patient (I asked and she answered a lot of questions!), she made us feel comfortable and reassured about leaving the responsibility of our holiday in someone else's hands.

It was clear from the start that Expert Africa had spent a lot of time researching the quality and service levels of the guides and hotels they recommended. When Ellie recommended a hotel, she was able to talk about it with confidence and in depth knowledge, which saved me hours researching on various websites. She was also scrupulously honest, making sure I understood the pros and cons of each itinerary or proposition.

I liked the fact that she had done the Rwanda trip herself last year as it gave more credence to what she was saying and cost permitting, I think it is a brilliant idea to have your consultants do as many of the trips as possible so they can speak with authority.

We also felt supported throughout the whole experience (and not just dumped after having paid the cash). When we had a small concern about our transfers in Tanzania, we emailed the info@expertafrica.com email address as we could not remember Ellie's address. This was relayed to her immediately and she responded incredibly quickly, allaying our concerns. This really impressed us and will go a long way to ensuring repeat business for Expert Africa as well as recommendations to our friends.

We are well travelled enough to know that no trip is ever without a hassle or two but one of the reasons we stopped travelling with tour operators is that we felt they relinquished responsibility once we had given them a credit card number. It is the complete opposite with Expert Africa and I loved the fact that you care enough about your customers to give out the mobile details of your staff in case of a real emergency or problem. That speaks volumes about the quality of your operation and your values. Well done Expert Africa, you rock.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

I understand why you levy a credit card surcharge in this economic climate - but it is a pain in the posterior to be honest. We had cash in the bank and were able to fund the trip from a standing start so to speak, but if we hadn't been able to do so, paying the surcharge might have been enough to make us consider an alternative travel company. I appreciate that their service might not have been as good but that might have been the trade off......"

Hotel des Mille Collines

Hotel des Mille Collines

"Hotel des Mille Collines review"

1 night Arrived 19 Feb 2012
"We were only at the hotel for one night but found it very pleasant. It was well situated in beautiful grounds. We had a snack at the bar and a few beers and the service was attentive. The breakfast service the following morning was a bit more indifferent and we had to ask for a number of basic tasks to be carried out i.e for glasses to be replaced at the juice station.

On check out we were informed that the credit card machine did not work so we had to pay for our extras in cash. This was not a problem at this stage as Expert Africa had warned us that it was not always possible to utilise credit cards in Rwanda so we were carrying significantly more cash than we normally would on a holiday."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Average
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

"Gorilla Mountain View Lodge"

4 nights Arrived 20 Feb 2012
"It would be very easy to improve the average score we have given Gorilla Mountain View Lodge to a good score. There were some quick fixes that could be implemented at minimal cost which would significantly improve the user experience.

1. Have a salt and pepper pot on every table so the guest does not have to hunt for one on the other tables.

2. Vary the menu a bit more and make the food less bland. We were there for 4 nights and got pretty bored with the food by the end of it. We appreciate that it is difficult to cater to everyone but most of the dishes were very safe ie irish stew, pasta, grilled fish. We were dying for something with a bit of spice ie a curry or chili con carne by the end of the stay.

3. We were in room 6. We don't know if the quality of this room is typical of the general room quality but if it is, then we would say: buy new towels or bleach the ones you already have. We know they were clean but they were no longer white and had gone grey, which makes them look dirty even if they are not. Likewise with the bed linen, it needs replacing. The room needed a lick of paint as it had gone dingy. In our room we had lashings of hot water but it only came out of the tap as a trickle. This made showering impossible and meant it took 20 minutes to run a bath. Incidentally the bracket for the shower head had fallen off the wall at some point in the past and had not been repaired - with the bracket left sitting on the side of the bath. So even if we had wanted a shower, we would have been hard pushed to keep the head up on the wall.

4. We really wanted to tip as many staff as possible i.e the boot cleaners, fire setters, bar staff and table waiting staff, but soon ran out of small denominations in either dollars or Rwandan currency. But each time we went to the front desk, we struggled to get them to change larger bills for us, even when we explained that we wanted to use it to tip their staff.

5. We had two kingsize beds in our room which is probably great if you are two single travellers but as a couple it felt really odd, almost as if surplus furniture had been wedged into our room. One bed is enough thanks!

If the inside of the rooms were as beautiful as the grounds, then they would be very impressive. And as we said it wouldn't take that much to improve them."
Average
Location
Excellent
Service
Average
Rooms
Poor
Food
Average
Zanzibar Palace Hotel

Zanzibar Palace Hotel

"Zanzibar Palace Hotel"

2 nights Arrived 24 Feb 2012
"Beautifully decorated room and well located within Stone Town. We had the Arabica suite which had a small outside balcony.

Very attentive and pleasant service, especially front desk and at breakfast. The only drawback would be the stairs, as Arabica is at the top of the building. We are relatively fit and only middle aged. An older or less fit couple might find the steep stairs more of a problem."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Sultan Palace

Sultan Palace

"Sultan Palace review"

6 nights Arrived 26 Feb 2012
"This is a stunningly beautiful hotel overlooking an almost deserted piece of beach. The main hotel building is gorgeous and our ocean suite was lovely, sitting in attractive, well maintained grounds and with a fantastic view of the sea. We had a huge balcony with loungers which overlooked the ocean and spent a large part of every day relaxing on it.

In fact you are almost spoilt for choice as to where to relax. Do you hang out by the infinity pool, overlooking the ocean, or stroll down to the beach area which was so deserted as to feel private or do you just hang out on your balcony? We did a bit of each every day! The hotel only has 15 rooms so with an average of 30 guests and very large grounds, you never felt cramped or overrun.

Paola was an incredibly attentive host, taking time to talk to every guest at breakfast and dinner, to make sure they were happy and enjoying their stay. I don't think I have ever seen a hotel manager take so much time with their guests. This approach seemed to rub off on the staff, all of whom were friendly, helpful and eager to please.

There was good attention to detail with fresh flowers having been placed in our suite on arrival and fresh flowers on the tables each evening. You could also eat your breakfast and dinner outside on the high level restaurant veranda which significantly improved the ambiance and romance of each meal.

There were only a few small issues, neither of which detracted from our stay. The first was that the credit card machine was not working and had not been repaired by the time we left (6 nights later). Thanks to Expert Africa's advice we had taken significantly more cash on holiday than normal as we had not expected to be able to pay by card in Rwanda - but we hadn't expected any problems at our Tanzanian resort. This meant a little juggling of finances as our extras bill at the hotel alone was over 300 USD (we had drinks at the bar before dinner as well a bottle of wine with dinner each evening). Added to that, John's diving at the local dive centre also had to be paid for in cash, so at one point we were worried about running out of cash. We had enough in the end but it wasn't an ideal situation and if we had been told in advance about the problem we could have tried to get more cash before leaving Stone Town.

The other issue was the food. Firstly let me put this into context by saying that it was consistently delicious and very plentiful. The chef was very good and we enjoyed every meal we had - but there was only one day where we had a choice of main course at dinner. The rest of the time there was no choice so if you felt like eating something other than what was on the menu, you were stuck. We are aware of the challenges of catering for a small operation such as this but wondered if you could offer more choice and ask guests to pick from two or three main courses at breakfast so you can avoid any wastage.

But despite those little points it is by far the most beautiful hotel on that stretch of beach and we really enjoyed our time there. We would happily recommend it to friends and family."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent

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