Travel reviews by Ms P from London
Total number of trips
Lodges stayed in
One of the best
Tanzania between 15 Feb 2020 and 25 Feb 2020
Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:
Olivia was excellent: I've been an Expert Africa client for many years, and she was one of the most helpful and efficient team members I've dealt with."
"Excellent Arusha base"
There is, literally, nothing to fault, with highlights including superb food made from mostly locally sourced ingredients (we especially loved the fresh, light lunches) and afternoon boat cruises and swimming in the lake. We were fortunate with the weather - there were a few biblical thunderstorms, but mostly at night - and the extraordinary chimpanzees, whom we saw every day.
Treks were shorter than we expected - more than once, the chimps were barely 10 minutes outside of camp - although there was plenty of "off-roading", so it still paid to be fairly nimble. In short, one of my favourite places in Africa, right up there with Mwaleshi in North Luangwa, and one I will return to again soon."
Rivertrees Country Inn
"Short but sweet"
Beautiful grounds are a highlight, and we had an extremely pleasant dinner outside."
Zambia never disappoints
Zambia between 5 Oct 2018 and 20 Oct 2018
Kafue and the Luangwa valley was an excellent combination due to the diversity of landscapes, animals and birds that it provided."
Ntemwa Busanga Camp
"Wonderful bush camp, in a great spot"
Tents are comfortable and well spread out, offering plenty of privacy; the food was excellent and guiding standards high. Highlights included a full-day drive out on the plains with Effie, with large herds of sable, roan, lechwe, buffalo and elephant; evenings at the pools nearby the camp were special, too.
Birds are very strong: James, a guide with encyclopaedic knowledge, and another guest counted some 130 different species the day I arrived. There are no other camps close by and we seldom saw another vehicle... which is exactly what I like.
"Kafue exceeded my expectations"
Musekese, in combination with her sister bush camp Ntemwa, was the perfect base to explore what Kafue has to offer. Highlights included an early morning walk, during which a herd of elephants fed just metres away from us, and stunning evening boat trips on the Kafue river. The camp itself is gorgeous, right on a lagoon that attracts abundant wildlife, and chalets are spacious and well-appointed.
The food was always excellent - the best of my trip, and standards were high everywhere. Musekese perfectly reflects its impressive young owners, Phil and Tyrone, whose passion for Kafue and focus on conservation deserves strong support.
Kafue vastly exceeded my expectations and I have no doubt I will return."
"Still a favourite after all these years..."
Chalets now have charging stations of their own (as well as a fan, which I didn't use) but haven't lost their rustic allure. Sly was, once again, a reliably strong guide with a nose for leopards (we saw seven different ones in three days).
Sighting highlights also included large herds of elephant and buffalo, as well as lions hunting and feasting."
The walking here is always special, and this time was no exception, with elephants, wild dogs and a pride of lions including two impressive males and six cubs ranging from 2-6 months. Mwaleshi itself is just lovely - the lighting in the chalets has been upgraded, but it is largely unchanged and perfect for it.
Next year Remote Africa will be opening a small camp near the confluence that will offer driving safaris; I will be interested to hear how that progresses."
A good off-the-beaten-track itinerary
Tanzania between 19 Sep 2017 and 30 Sep 2017
However, Katavi and Mafia were both places I really wanted to visit and I wouldn't have changed that."
Rivertrees Country Inn
Drinks at the bar were very reasonably priced and there's wifi in the public areas. Vervet monkeys provided some fine late afternoon entertainment.
It's about half-way between Kilimanjaro and Arusha airports, a 30-40 minute drive each. It was a convenient and very pleasant stop for a one-day layover in Arusha."
Game viewing is very good, although animal densities were not as high as I expected, perhaps because of extremely limited water. The exception was hippos: so many hippos, squashed into shrinking muddy pools - they made for wonderful sundowner spots!
Highlights included carefully tracking a leopard snoozing in a tree and a lioness hunting a bushbuck. Birds were excellent, too. Chada is wonderful camp, with comfortable tents, tasty food (highlights included some wonderful pork empanadas for lunch, although there were always plenty of fresh salads and fruit, too) and, above all, delightful staff, including our experienced guide, Jairu.
We were rather fortunate to share the camp with just one other couple; it felt almost decadent. Elephants visited the camp daily, which was really quite a thrill (and completely safe, thanks to the staff's care).
I would stay definitely stay there again."
"Great place to chill out"
Any time in the room was mostly spent on the wonderful veranda, which boasted a mosquito-netted day bed and lovely views of the lush gardens and the sea. Bathrooms are rather dated, however, and detracted from the overall quality, which is a shame.
I loved having tea delivered to our room each morning before breakfast, and in the evenings, the bar whipped up some seriously good cocktails, too. There's wifi by the pool, which mostly worked well.
The dive shop - a high-quality operation - is just a ten-minute walk long the beach and diving was very good, with some very impressive coral reefs."
Rooms were simple and clean, and staff extremely friendly (we especially appreciated the help with our bags in the middle of the night). Food was not the highlight of our stay, but there was some decent wine on offer at very reasonable prices."
A good introduction to Kenya
Kenya between 11 Mar 2017 and 18 May 2017
Both Kicheche camps were were excellent; I would wholeheartedly recommend them.
And special thanks to Expert Africa for rearranging my itinerary at the last minute, due to safety concerns. I should emphasise that there was absolutely no reason to worry in Ol Pejeta in Laikipia."
Rooms are comfortable, although tiled floors (rooms and hallways) means there's not much to absorb noise.
There was an excellent spread at breakfast, although it was a little too early for me to admire the adjacent reserve.
Service was friendly and helpful."
"An unexpected treat"
The reserve is beautiful, with some wide open plans, and there are good herds of elephant and eland; I also had some good lion sightings. I did a walk one morning with one of the rhino conservation scouts, which I would recommend.
My guide was quite young, and perhaps didn't appreciate just how experienced a safari-goer I was, but with a vehicle to myself, I could also make suggestions or requests as needed. The overall experience was not quite as remote as I had hoped for - perhaps that is more the case in northern Laikipia, where I was due to go; here you can see twinkling lights of the town in the distance, and the reserve is still used for cattle grazing so there are many artificial watering holes, which can be a little jarring - but it was very pleasant nonetheless and I very much appreciate their last-minute hospitality."
Kicheche Bush Camp
"A wonderful camp"
The game - especially cats: a showoff leopard, Fig, and large prides of stunning lions (those manes!) - just leaps off the landscape in front of you. Nelson was an excellent and friendly guide, and Aki was a charming host back at camp. Tents were spacious and well-equipped, including brollies and boots for the downpours (being caught in one of these on our evening drive, just as we were watching a pride of lions, was a highlight), and food was very good. The camp is especially good for photographers, with specially adapted vehicles offering loads of space for kit and well-trained guides.
Getting away from it all
Zambia between 8 Oct 2016 and 18 Oct 2016
The food was excellent, too, with fresh, tasty offerings including plenty of salads and fruit (perfect for hot October days). Although lion prides were somewhat quiet, I had exceptional leopard sightings every single day. One killed an impala at the watering hole and we were able to watch him on consecutive days, feeding in a tree and later dragging his prize off.
At this time of the year, the high concentration of elephants and giraffes was notable as well. In short, when I go back to South Luangwa, it'll be straight back to heaven."
"Doesn't get better than this"
Stunning scenery, fantastic sightings (especially lion and buffalo), top guiding by Brent Harris and a superb, friendly camp in one of the remotest places in Africa means that, in my book at least, it doesn't get much better than this.
I recognise it is not for everyone, however: guests should be aware that game is more dispersed than in the South, for example, and I would recommend a reasonable level of fitness to get the most out of the experience. One thing's for sure: I'll be back."
Rwanda between 25 Jun 2016 and 2 Jul 2016
I am a very experienced safari-goer, and seeing mountain gorillas - spending a full half-hour with a mother and her two-month-old and getting close to the magnificent silverbacks - ranks among any top sightings. But Rwanda is about much more than just gorillas: it's an extraordinary country, stunningly lush and beautiful, and with a dignified people that makes it even harder to comprehend the horror of the genocide. It needs tourist dollars, and that $750 gorilla permit is worth every penny if you can afford it. I urge everyone to consider it for an alternative trip to Africa. (Note: for safari lovers, there are game parks in the south and east that we, unfortunately, did not have time to visit.)"
Kigali Serena Hotel
"Ideal base for Kigali"
Meanwhile, the pool area is really lovely, and I was surprised by the high quality of the food, not just at the remarkable buffet breakfast but also at dinner one evening."
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge
Yes, the stairs up to the main lodge and rooms are a bit of a challenge, especially after an exhilarating morning trekking gorillas - but it's worth the effort.
Can't imagine staying anywhere else."
Lake Kivu Serena Hotel
"Nice spot to end the holiday"
The Congolese border and Tam Tam Beach (for much better food at Bikini Tam Tam) are just a short stroll away."
Zambia between 9 Aug 2015 and 21 Aug 2015
Kaingo is a wonderful place, with a stunning location, and I am very pleased to report that the food, which was very disappointing last year, was excellent once again. I thought brunch (rather than both breakfast and lunch in previous years) worked really well, with a lovely selection of breakfast-y things as well as delicious, fresh salads and quiches.
As ever, the game viewing was spectacular. Sylvester was an excellent guide throughout our stay, informative and friendly."
One of the highlights was the hide: as it is very dry this year in the Luangwa valley, a huge range of animals, including herds of elephants, wildebeest and impala, as well as flocks of lovebirds, went to the watering hole to drink every day; one could spend hours there! The drives were superb, including a speculative one out to Kapanda lagoon where we found two lionesses and four cubs.
We kept Sylvester as our guide throughout our stay at Kaingo and Mwamba, and the continuity worked really well for me.
Food was similar to that at Kaingo, and equally good. Absolutely loved my stay there."
I was incredibly fortunate with my sightings, including what Special (the long-time spotter with very special eyes) said was his best walk ever: a morning with leopards, lions and wild dogs, all at very close quarters. Brent is a superb guide, and wonderful company besides.
The camp itself is simple but perfect, with delicious food and the luxury of hot showers in the evening.
Sadly, the riverbed was completely dry already, so there was no afternoon swimming in the Luangwa this time! In short, I can't recommend it enough."
Can't get enough of Zambia...
Zambia between 23 Aug 2014 and 4 Sep 2014
Would recommend a few days of walking safari for those who really want to get away from it all.
Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:
No... always a pleasure!"
Arranged By Claire Scott
"Another great stay at Kaingo"
The game viewing was superb, as usual (one evening, we had two leopard sightings within five minutes, close to camp), even though I wasn't lucky enough to get the spectacular action sequences I was treated to last year. Not much beats having lunch on your private deck, overlooking the Luangwa (I saw hippos fighting and a huge monitor lizard making the foolish decision to enter the crocodile territory...), although a bush breakfast was also much appreciated.
Excellent guiding from Patrick again, and the hippo hide is unmissable."
"Chikoko walking trails and Mwaleshi"
I was worried eight days might be too much, especially as photography has usually been an important part of my safari holidays, but no... I could have stayed for weeks and weeks, and never tired of it! It just takes safari to a whole other level, and as someone who greatly appreciates remoteness, this was just perfect.
Mwaleshi, in particular, is a very special place: even though the game is not quite as dense as in the South park, its location on the river is just unbeatable. Brent is a superb guide; can't recommend the trip highly enough. Food was excellent, too - loved all the fresh salads!"
Lodge not featured by Expert Africa
Zambia between 25 Aug 2013 and 7 Sep 2013
Five nights in Lower Zambezi was probably a bit long for me, as the game was not as good, but it is a beautiful area and good for relaxing."
I needn't have worried: the camp itself was a friendly and comfortable as ever (and the food was excellent), and the game viewing in late August/early September was unforgettable, thanks to excellent guiding by Meyam (and his scout, Maxwell). I suspect my third day there will probably never be bettered..."
"Bushcamp luxury at Mwamba"
As at Kaingo, excellent game viewing and guiding."
Chongwe River Camp
Food and service were both excellent, and being able to lounge by the pool in between activities was lovely. Game viewing would have been very good by most accounts, but arriving after an epic week in South Luangwa, it paled a bit by comparison."
Tanzania between 18 Nov 2012 and 26 Nov 2012
I do recommend trying to stay both at Jongomero and at one of the camps in the north is you can: the landscapes (and weather patterns) are different, and it's a wonderful way to get a good sense for the sheer vastness of this wonderful place. Highly recommended."
"Lovely bushcamp; great game viewing"
My guide was Marc, who was excellent: extremely experienced, he eagerly shared his knowledge and was also very considerate of photographer's needs. The lion and elephant sightings were superb - my best, in fact - and there was much else besides. You really get a sense for the vastness and remoteness of Ruaha - I think I saw three or four other vehicles during my entire week there - as well as wonderfully varied landscapes."
"Superb camp in remote Ruaha"
The food was excellent; I especially enjoyed lunches, which always featured lots of fresh salads. A real highlight are the people: not just Noelle and Molly, the camp's exuberant managers, and Kim, my delightful guide, but every single person providing exceptional service - there is a real sense of commitment and continuity there. Do go on a walking safari with Molly if you can (I never thought I would say this about a safari holiday, but learning about termite mounds was a highlight).
Overall, one of the best safari lodges I have stayed at in Africa."
"Comfortable base for Dar Es Salaam"
Lodge not featured by Expert Africa
Zambia between 13 Jun 2012 and 21 Jun 2012
Shenton Safaris was everything I wanted, and I can't wait to return.
Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:
For someone who is used to piecing together entire trips on my own, I am hugely impressed by Expert Africa's knowledge and service. When I first contacted Ellie I thought I knew exactly what I wanted, but with just a few emails back and forth she ended up proposing the ideal itinerary - thank you!
I will be recommending you highly, and will certainly use you again for future trips to Africa."
Kaingo's location, perched on the river Luangwa, is stunning - and, crucially, the camp is far away from the park's busy main gate so that you seldom come across another car (and if you do, it's likely to be from Mwamba). The newly-decorated rooms are airy, spacious and charmingly decorated, and the private deck, where lunch is served, is the perfect place to while away a couple of hours before the afternoon game drive. Toiletries, including mosquito repellent, are provided, and don't miss the lovely robes!
The food was superb - I believe Honore, the Congolese chef, is a new addition to the staff, and I was very impressed by the variety and the quality of the meals produced (much of the produce coming from Shenton's own vegetable garden in Mfuwe). Izzy, Rob and Derek Shenton all contributed to the warm, friendly service.
The game viewing, meanwhile, is superb: loads of leopard and lions, heaps of hippos and hyenas, as well as huge herds of buffalo and various antelope. What really stood out, though, was the standards of the guides (Patrick was mine at Kaingo, while Mayem gave me an impromptu game drive on the way from the airport), confirming Zambia's reputation for having some of the best in the business. I think I learnt more during my week there than in all my previous safari experiences combined. Also, do go for a walk and don't miss the wonderful hippo hide for an up-close-and-personal experiences.
Highly, highly recommended. I can't wait to go back."
"Unique and brilliant"
The rooms, which are rebuilt each year under the trees, have wonderful skylights which make it feel like you are sleeping under the stars (but still safely indoors when elephants wander by!) and large outside bathrooms with bucket showers (which are not as rustic as they sound). An outside seating area is the the perfect spot for lunch watching any animals wandering by the river bed. The general areas are equally open, attractive and comfortable. Food was generally very good, simpler than that at Kaingo but still extraordinary given the camp's location. As at Kaingo, the service was superb, with a special mention for John, who made me smile every time we spoke.
For drives, Brent and Kennedy were my wonderful guides, while Gideon was an excellent scout. Brent's almost-philosophical approach was thought-provoking as well as hugely informative - I learnt a huge amount from him - while Kennedy conjured up one of the highlights of my trip, a leopard stretched out on a fallen tree that we observed, by ourselves, for over half an hour. As I mentioned in my review of Kaingo, the game viewing is superb: lions were basking in the shade metres from the camp and it was here that I saw large herds of buffalo, eland and Cookson wildebeest, as well as some wonderfully curious young hyenas. Do bring a good pair of binoculars: it will vastly enhance your experience. As with Kaingo, the camp's location far away from the main park gates, means you're unlikely to pass more than one or two other cars on any drive.
So, all in all, a superb experience that I cannot wait to repeat. South Luangwa is the ultimate safari experience, and I can't imagine anyone bettering what I had with Shenton Safaris."
Eight Reedbuck Hotel, Zambia (this camp has since closed)
"Comfortable Lusaka base"
The bathroom was also large and had a whirlpool bath (which I did not use), although the shower was a bit disappointing - small, with a curtain and an uncertain shower head. While body wash was provided, there was no shampoo or conditioner, which would have been helpful as I didn't have my own; I also couldn't find a hair dryer, although no doubt I could have asked for one.
The common areas of the hotel are lovely, and although I didn't get a good view of the garden because it was dark, it seemed to have a nice pool as well as an outside seating area with a fireplace. Service was efficient and charming, and I appreciated that they left a continental breakfast in my room the night before my early departure. The room also has a large fridge and coffee and tea making facilities."
Lodge not featured by Expert Africa
But it's more than just convenient: it's in a lovely, quiet spot; the rooms are spacious and spotless, and the bathroom boasts an impressive shower; and there's an elegant swimming pool to while away an afternoon after a superb lunch on the patio.
Service was warm and friendly. Highly recommended."