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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs P from Co. Durham

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

2

Lodges stayed in

4

Excursions taken

0

Botswana and Zim Adventure 2012

Botswana and 1 other country between 28 Jul 2012 and 9 Aug 2012

Trip rating: Excellent
"Our first trip to Africa was everything we had hoped and planned for. We had heard a lot about Botswana and its pristine wilderness and wildlife and it certainly lived up to expectations.

At Dinaka in the Central Kalahari we found the landscape, environment and wildlife was quite different to Little Kwara in the Okavango Delta and Lebala further north. This difference is what we had hoped to experience - we didn't want everywhere to be the same and I think we achieved this.

The camps had excellent facilities, the tents were all large and extremely well equipped and the lodges very comfortable. The food was exceptionally good wherever we went and always plentiful. We particularly enjoyed the campfire breakfasts and coffee and sundowners out on the game drives. Good drinking water was always available and we did not encounter one mosquito even in the Delta area!!

We enjoyed the varied activities on offer at each camp as well as the usual day and night game drives. At Dinaka we had the bushwalk and the two visits to the hides overlooking the waterholes - we even enjoyed brunch at the hides. Little Kwara
have the double decker boats and it was a fantastic experience going out into the Delta. Lebala did not offer us any extra activities apart from a bird hide on site, but their unique location and being surrounded by Hippos and Elephants is a bonus!
We would like to return to Botswana after the rainy season to see the tranformation from desert to the lush green landscapes we have heard about. Maybe one day!

We did not have any problems, all flights were on time and we were picked up and taken through the border at Zimbabwe without any hassle. The only thing which annoyed us slightly was that the driver for Wilderness Safaris did not take us straight to Ilala Lodge but made a detour to pick up two staff members who wanted to sell us 'activities' while staying in Vic Falls despite us twice previously saying to the driver we didn't want to arrange anything. It was only after we arrived at the Lodge and explained we were meeting a relative at Vic Falls that they left.

Our two night stay in Zimbabwe was not long enough to do everything we wanted, there seems to be a lot on offer and our impression is that the community there are trying very hard to re-establish the tourism industry. It was certainly busy in Victoria Falls and we saw many different nationalities. We would maybe like to return there one day for a longer holiday if things improve.

The people and all the staff were great wherever we went, always had a smile for us and were helpful friendly and professional.

Overall our trip was an exceptional experience!! Thanks to Expert Africa.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

Everything worked out perfectly for our trip so I can't think of any suggestions for improvement- thanks very much to Megan for all her planning, expertise and advice. We would certainly recommend her and Expert Africa to our friends if they are planning a trip to Africa."

Arranged By Megan Green


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Own arrangements

"Superb experience at Dinaka Safari Lodge"

3 nights Arrived 29 Jul 2012
"We had arranged to visit Dinaka Lodge to meet our cousin Melanie and her family who we had never met before. She was born in Africa and has lived there all her life. The Game reserve and lodge has been established during the last few years by herself and her husband George and their son David and his family. After a lot of hard work it has become a very special place and as good an experience as the other places we visited on our safari trip.

We were greeted at Maun Airport and driven south by David - this took about 2.5 hours but gave us time to view the landscape and David provided us with a lot of information about the area. He has created a runway for guests to arrive and leave by plane if they wish but is waiting for the relative certificate from the authorities to go ahead and hopes to have this soon. We were very warmly welcomed by all at Dinaka as I'm sure any guests would be and instantly felt at home in the surroundings.

The facilities are first class, the rooms are large and spotless, beds very comfy, and plenty of hot water for washing and showers provided by solar power. The food was very tasty and plentiful -our favourite was very tender Springbok roast dinner - delicious! We also enjoyed drinks around the camp fire every night before dinner, a good time for conversation and getting to know other guests. Thank you George for the Red Wine!

The main lodge and six tents overlook a clearing and waterhole where animals and birds come to drink thus enabling guests to view these from the decks and verandahs. There are many different species around the reserve and we saw most of them during our 3 day visit. Lots of Kudo, Springbok, Steenbok, Wildebeest, Eland, Gemsbok(Oryx), Jackals, Warthogs and the smaller mammals, as well as the big cats. We had a close encounter with a leopard while at a ground level hide, he crept up behind us and we observed him at close quarters before he moved off to sit under a tree. During this time another leopard appeared at the waterhole in front of us, a very special experience! We also saw cheetahs three times during our stay but the big black maned lions on the reserve remained elusive although tracks were seen around the camp in the mornings! Our hosts have had the lions very close to the lodge on many occasions.

We were taken on early morning game drives by Dave, with the bushman Quma looking out for tracks and well camouflaged wildlife, we were amazed how they instinctively knew there was something hiding in the undergrowth! The first day we had brunch in a large wooden hide on stilts overlooking a waterhole, we were visited by a very brave mongoose looking for scraps on the top step. Apparently it was his first visit but I bet he will be back now he knows!

Other species were observed on our night drive including African wildcat, large spotted Genet, Striped Polecat, and Owls. We saw many different birds from the large birds of prey to the small bright Crimson breasted Shrike and the cheeky Yellow billed Hornbills which liked to visit the Lodge for any spare food! We also went off road to observe a big flock of vultures picking clean a springbok which was thought to have been killed earlier by the cheetahs, and nearby was another dead springbok which looked like its back had been broken in the chase.

Our bushwalk with Dave and 3 bushmen was very memorable, we learned much about their traditional ways,
and how they used to live and survive using the natural environment. This was the only camp on our trip to offer this experience and it was enjoyed by all of us.

All too soon our visit was over but it was very special meeting the family and experiencing our first taste of the African bush and all it has to offer. We can very much recommend Dinaka Safari Lodge for an unforgettable safari holiday!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Little Kwara

Little Kwara

"Special Little Kwara"

3 nights Arrived 1 Aug 2012
"The whole experience at Little Kwara was fantastic. The staff were very friendly and welcoming from the moment we arrived and we were greeted by Liz the manager with a refreshing drink in hand. With only 5 tents the camp was small and intimate in a lovely setting, each tent was on stilts which was probably because of the close encounters with the elephants who liked the nearby trees! On the way back from dinner the first night our guide had to encourage a big elephant out of the way so we could get back to our tent! That was certainly a new experience!

The tents themselves were very well equipped, the beds extremely comfortable and large, and plenty of hot water supplied by a gas heater. There was even a bath as well as the outdoor shower. The staff gave us hot water bottles at night for the bed in case we were cold which was a nice touch!

The food was very good and plentiful and pleasantly served by the staff, T Bone always made a good starter and dessert! We really enjoyed the early morning porridge and muffins by the campfire too.
The guides and senior staff joined us for brunch and dinner each day and it was good to talk to them and get to know a bit about themselves and the way of life in Africa.

Our guide Hobbs, and our tracker Mike, were very courteous, professional and friendly and went out of their way to give us a special safari experience during our stay. We saw lots of game and birds on our drives, we especially enjoyed our first views of elephant, giraffe, zebra,red lechwe, tsessebe and impala. The morning we visited the Wild dogs and their puppies was amazing - we watched the pups huddle together for warmth before they began to play. The adult dogs were well camouflaged and we did not realise they were there at first! Many photos were taken that day.

One morning our coffee break was taken at a small lake which was home to lots of Hippos, luckily they stayed in the water during our visit but they kept a close watch on us, as we did them! - another extraordinary experience!

We saw a lioness and her cub twice, also 2 very sleepy male lions. There was a family group of 3 young cheetahs which we encountered twice and got very good views of them and their behaviour. Going off road following the game was all in a days work for Hobbs but a very exciting for ourselves!

There is an abundance of birdlfe in the Delta and we enjoyed seeing all the different species from the very large to the very small, all too numerous to list but one of our favourite was the Lilac Breasted Roller, very colourful and bright!

Hobbs and Mike took us on a boat ride into the Delta, through the channels between the immense reed beds . There was not another boat in sight and it was very tranquil. We visited some nesting Marabou Storks but were a little disappointed we didn't see more species, we were a bit early in the season (it was August) and most would arrive in the following few weeks.
We had our sun downer on the top deck of the boat and the view was glorious with the sun setting over the water. We speeded back through the channels before complete darkness set in with excellent boat skills from Hobbs and Mike on the way!

We have no hesitation in recommending Little Kwara, we enjoyed every minute!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Lebala Camp

Lebala Camp

"Leopards at Lebala Camp"

3 nights Arrived 4 Aug 2012
"We were greeted at the airstrip by our guide 'K' and tracker, 'Shoes' - sorry we don't know the correct spelling - but the names were easy to remember! They were great guys and we had a lot of fun in their company for 3 days.
At the lodge we were met Olga who supplied us with refreshing towels after our journey and the manager Charles, who gave us a welcome talk about the camp facilities and activities. We found Charles to be a great host and nothing was too much trouble.

The camp is on an island surrounded by a deep channel and we soon noticed the grunting noises of the Hippos which live all around and wander through the camp day and night. The elephants too are constant visitors and we saw many of these during our stay at Lebala. We saw lots of other game too - buffalo,wildebeest,giraffe,impala,spotted hyena,warthog to name a few - but our overriding memory is a special encounter with two leopards very close up after they had killed an impala. The male leopard kept the kill all to himself, only leaving the scraps for the female. We watched them one night until the sun went down and returned the next morning for more - K and Shoes did everything they could to get us very close to these beautiful creatures by driving through the bushes backwards and forwards for the best views. We were only a few feet away - amazing! We got some great photos and video.

The camp staff and cooks were fantastic, the food was gorgeous and lots of variety to choose from. 'G' was great at mealtimes and kept us entertained - he had a constant battle with the cheeky birds who would try to steal anything without a cover ( even these were pecked off sometimes)! The guides joined us for meals and this was great for us to get to know a bit about themselves and their families as well as discussing the days events etc.

There are 8 tents and the camp was full with lots of different nationalities which was interesting, we got to know each other around the campfire and at mealtimes and were able to swap stories! The tents were large and well equipped (even had an electric socket) the bed was comfy and we were pleased to have 3 blankets as the nights were very cold, especially the last one when the wind blew through the thin walls! Thanks to the staff who supplied 'bush babies' (hot water bottles) at night and also for the early morning drives - these were very much appreciated as were the blankets on the game drive vehicles!!

We had a lovely time at Lebala, thanks to Charles and his staff for a memorable stay."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Ilala Lodge

Ilala Lodge

"Ilala Lodge"

2 nights Arrived 7 Aug 2012
"We found that Ilala Lodge is in a great location just over the road from the entrance to Victoria Falls, and has lovely views, with the spray of the falls visible from our room and the terrace. The bedrooms were very clean and comfortable and ours had french doors opening out onto the lawn where there were warthogs and baboons passing by! One night after dark we even saw a honey badger but it quickly disappeared when it was disturbed.

The staff were very friendly and helpful and the food was very good, especially the breakfast with a wonderful and plentiful choice to cater for all needs. We can certainly recommend the Lodge for a relaxed and enjoyable stay."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent

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