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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Miss K & Mr G from London

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

2

Countries visited

3

Lodges stayed in

17

Excursions taken

0

Excellent trip

Namibia and 1 other country between 10 Apr 2014 and 28 Apr 2014

Trip rating: Excellent
"We really enjoyed our holiday. Namibia is a great country and the scenery is spectacular.

If I was doing the trip again I wouldn't have stayed a night in Namtib Desert Lodge but would have put in a night at Quivertree Forest after our stay in Fish River Canyon. We stopped here for a couple of hours on our way to Luderitz, but we wished that we had more time and were able to see it at sunrise and sunset.

The driving was mostly fine in our high clearance 2WD. The only roads that caused us problems were the access track to Polentswa lodge and the D707 north of Namtib Desert Lodge where the road is basically sand for a 20km stretch. I would recommend that in future you only recommend this road for people in a 4WD and that you recommend the C13/C27 route for anyone in a 2WD. I think that even though this is longer it would be much faster as the D707 is in a pretty bad way once you get North of Namtib Desert Lodge. The scenery doesn't get really good until the C27 near the Namib Rand reserve.

We had an issue at Polentswa lodge, however, this was quickly resolved - thank you for your help with this. I would recommend that you clarify the current situation regarding night drives and other activities with the Ta Shebube lodges and update your website accordingly. We were really impressed by the quality of the Ta Shebube Rooiputs lodge - we had a great time there and saw some great animals.

I would have liked to have one or two nights on the Mata-Mata side of the national park as well as Rooiputs, as the wildlife and birds are quite different here to Rooiputs, but all the park accommodation was full so it was not possible. However, I would recommend this for future guests if the accommodation is available."

Feedback response

We would like to thanks these travellers for their very informative feedback. As a result of this we noted that the track to Polentswa requires a 4WD and will advise future travellers of this.

In general, we always send our travellers along the C13/C27, unless they are staying at Namtib Desert Lodge, but have also noted that a 4WD may be required when visiting Namtib.

Arranged By Tracy Lederer


Augrabies Falls Restcamp

Augrabies Falls Restcamp

"Awesome Augrabies"

2 nights Arrived 11 Apr 2014
"Great location right by the falls. Well appointed self contained chalets. Good shower and comfortable beds. Only downside is that air con is very noisy. The staff were all very helpful and the food in the restaurant is good value and tasty.

We did the ebony walk which took us way longer than the suggested 2.5 hours. Also did the dassie trail which I would recommend when the weather is dry to anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. The scenery is just stunning.

We also did some self guided game drives to the various viewpoints. We saw springbok, gemsbok, giraffe, yellow mongoose, ground squirrel, daisies, vervet monkeys, black spitting cobra.

We also did a guided night drive and saw cape hare, steenbok and gemsbok.

Overall really enjoyed our stay here and would recommend it."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Canyon Lodge

Canyon Lodge

"Lovely stay at Canyon Lodge"

2 nights Arrived 13 Apr 2014
"Spectacular location and very convenient for visiting fish river canyon. Nice rooms set into the rocks. Amazing shower. Comfortable beds. Good wholesome food and plenty of it. Very helpful staff. Great service. Very friendly cats. Stunning views of the rock formations."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Nest Hotel

Nest Hotel

"Nest Hotel"

2 nights Arrived 15 Apr 2014
"This is a dated large business hotel that feels quite impersonal. The bathroom is ok, the beds are comfortable and the sea view is nice. The air conditioning in our room didn't work properly - it just pumped out hot air.

The restaurant is expensive by Namibian standards and the service is incredibly slow. The food was quite nice though. Breakfast buffet was good. Wifi was free and reasonable.

I would recommend having dinner in the Bay View Hotel instead, although they don't take walk ins so you need to reserve a table in advance (the service here was also very slow but the food was better and the prices were much lower)"
Average
Location
Average
Service
Poor
Rooms
Average
Food
Good
Namtib Desert Lodge

Namtib Desert Lodge

"Namtib Desert Lodge"

1 night Arrived 17 Apr 2014
"They say they are an Eco lodge but when we were there they had no game drives in operation. The only activity available was a self guided botanical walking trail, which was interesting, but not necessarily what we expected. We arrived just after 1pm and we weren't asked whether we had eaten any lunch which I thought was a bit off.

Apparently there are lots of interesting animals around, they just don't seem to do anything that allows there guests to see them, which we found very strange given that they brand themselves as an Eco lodge. The food is ok but nothing special and compares poorly to some of the other lodges we stayed on our trip. On the plus side when we arrived we had had a puncture on the drive up to the lodge and they were very helpful and made a couple of phone calls for us which we appreciated. Do be aware that the rooms are pretty basic with no fans or air con.

You have to walk through an outdoor courtyard to get to the bathroom, which can be a bit off putting if you need to use the loo in the middle of the night."
Average
Location
Good
Service
Good
Activities
Terrible
Rooms
Average
Food
Poor
Facilities
Poor
Desert Homestead

Desert Homestead

"Desert Homestead"

2 nights Arrived 18 Apr 2014
"The rooms themselves were very basic. They got incredibly hot which meant we really didn't sleep much on our first night. The rooms didn't cool down much at night even though the outside temperatures did. They had ceiling fans but they were pretty ineffective as they were too high and they channelled the breeze up rather than down. We understand from the manager that they are in the process of putting in air con but it isn't done yet. There are also lots of biting insects in the room. We woke up the first morning covered in bites even though we put the mosquito nets down. The second night we sprayed the whole area round the bed with bug spray before putting the mosquito net down and it was fine.

However, on the plus side the manager Andy is great and he makes sure all the guests are well looked after. The food is excellent.

We did the sundowner horse ride which was brilliant. We are experienced riders and there were also two beginners as well. They split up the group so we went with two different guides. The beginners walked to the sundowner spot and we went the long way round trotting and cantering most of the way. I would definitely recommend it for experienced riders.

We did a self drive trip to the dunes. We left the lodge just after 5 am and drove to the park gate. We drove to the parking area where we the shuttle to dead vlei and sossus vlei. We walked up the dunes at both places. Be aware that you are reliant on the shuttle. It was fine getting to dead vlei, then we had a short wait to go to on to sossus vlei but then we had to wait for almost an hour in the baking heat for a shuttle back to the parking area. Because of this I would recommend taking lots of water with you plus something to eat.

There are some very tame black backed jackals that hang out in the parking area scavenging for scraps. In terms of cost it is 80 rand to get into the park, plus 100 rand for the shuttle. This compares to 850 rand for the guided tour offered by the lodge. So it is quite a large difference in cost. If you have a 4x4 you can drive to dead vlei and sossus vlei yourself and not use the shuttle. However i would only recommend this if you are experienced driving on soft sand. We saw a number of vehicles that got stuck."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Poor
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kalahari Red Dunes Lodge

Kalahari Red Dunes Lodge

"Kalahari Red Dunes Lodge"

1 night Arrived 20 Apr 2014
"The rooms are beautiful. There is air con although we didn't use it. They have nice shaded seating areas outside each room which are very private and catch the breeze.

The service lacks the personal touch. The food is ok but nothing special. We went on a sundowner game drive which was a bit disappointing. The driver ignored all the birds and inevitably put us in a spot that was either looking directly into the sun at the animals or had a bush between us and them. Not so good for taking photos. We also did the nyala self guided walk which we enjoyed.

There is a tame meerkat who runs around the lodge. The owners of the lodge found him and his sister abandoned when they were pups and they hand reared them. They released both meerkats when they were old enough to survive on their own but toffee decided he preferred the good life around the lodge than life in the wild. When we were there he showed up for afternoon tea to beg for cake."
Good
Location
Average
Service
Average
Activities
Poor
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Average
Facilities
Good
Image alt

Torgos Safari Lodge

"Torgos Safari Lodge"

1 night Arrived 21 Apr 2014
"We were very pleasantly surprised by torgos. The rooms were nice and lovely and cool. The is air con although we didn't use it. The shower was great. There is a family of very friendly ground squirrels that live at the lodge which means you can get some great pictures of them.

We did a game drive while we were there which we very much enjoyed. We also mentioned that we really would like to see a porcupine and they took us out again for a night drive after dinner. We didn't see a porcupine but there were loads of spring hares, bat eared foxes, a cape fox and a genet. They didn't charge us any extra for this on top of the afternoon game drive.

The food was very good and the service was friendly."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Ta Shebube Polentswa

Ta Shebube Polentswa

"Ta Shebube Polentswa"

3 nights Arrived 22 Apr 2014
"We were staying at Polentswa on a self drive basis with the option of doing the game drives offered by the lodge if we wanted to. As we drove north through the park it became noticeable that the banks of earth at the side of the road became higher (up to a metre) and they then had grass and bushes growing on top of them. This started to become noticeable when we got towards nossob and got worse the further north we went, where we could mostly see only grass and bushes as we drove along. So by the time we got to the lodge we had already decided that we would do the game drives that were offered by the lodge, as we certainly wouldn't be able to see much game from the car and would be able to see much more from the higher vantage point of an open safari vehicle.

We had a high clearance 2wd vehicle for our trip. Driving through the national park itself was fine in a 2wd, however the access track to Polentswa lodge was a 4wd track and our car really struggled with it. I would definitely recommend that if you stay here you drive a 4x4. When we got to the lodge we were told that their game drive guide had gone away to attend a funeral and that they were unable to offer us any game drives. Also, contrary to the information we had received they also didn't have a permit for night drives and couldn't offer those either, even if there had been a guide available. This was extremely disappointing. Given all the above we asked if it was possible to move two of the nights we were supposed to be spending at Polentswa to their sister lodge rooiputs. We were able to arrange this so we only ended up staying one night.

The tents themselves are very nice, the service was good, the staff choir was a real treat, and the food is quite good. The setting is beautiful and the view is fabulous. If you want somewhere to relax and get away from it all for a few days then this would be ideal. However, if you want to come here to see wildlife then you are much better off in their rooiputs lodge further south where the wildlife is more prolific and you get a much better view of it due to the nature of the road."
Average
Location
Good
Service
Good
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Ta Shebube Rooiputs

Ta Shebube Rooiputs

"Ta Shebube Rooiputs"

2 nights Arrived 25 Apr 2014
"This is a fantastic lodge. The staff are friendly and very helpful, the food is great and the rooms are really nice. We did the game drives offered by the lodge and I have to say they were fabulous. The guide has incredible eyes and we saw twice as much as we would have done if we were self driving. He had a great understanding of what makes a good photo and put us in the right spot to get a clear view and good light on whatever we were taking pictures of. This is a rare skill that is missing in so many other guides. He was also able to identify all the bird calls and found us a pair of eagle owls by listening to their call. He was also able to tell us all about the various animal behaviours that we were seeing and different things about each animal.

I would definitely recommend doing the game drives here rather than self driving, especially if you want to take photos. We had great sightings of lion, cheetah, leopard, gemsbok, springbok, wildebeest, hartebeest, meerkats, ground squirrels, slender mongoose, black backed jackals plus an assortment of excellent birds. The only word of caution that I have is that it does get very cold first thing in the morning when you are doing game drives in an open safari vehicle so make sure you take warm clothes - I would recommend a warm hat, gloves, windproof jacket and fleece and warm trousers. However, by the time you get to the middle of the day it will be hot."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

October 2012 trip to Zambia

Zambia between 12 Oct 2012 and 3 Nov 2012

Trip rating: Excellent
"We enjoyed our trip to Zambia.

Expert Africa did a great job with the organisation and recommendations."

Arranged By Claire Scott


Avani Victoria Falls

Avani Victoria Falls

"Location, Location, Location!"

3 nights Arrived 13 Oct 2012
"We had 3 nights at the Zambezi Sun at the start of our holiday in Zambia and we really enjoyed it.

The hotel itself is big and brash but we knew that before we chose it. There are loads of facilities on site including a pool, activity centre, ATM, and a few restaurants. The rooms are air conditioned with nice bathrooms and excellent showers. We ate at the buffet restaurant on the night we arrived as we were tired and wanted something quick. The quality was ok but it was a bit pricey. The following two nights we went to Squires Steakhouse (also on site) which did great steak and was much more reasonably priced. The grounds of the hotel are extensive and definitely worth exploring. There are zebras, impalas, giraffes, baboons and vervet monkeys in the grounds as well as a variety of birds.

The best feature of this hotel is it's location. You walk out the back gate of the grounds and you are at the Victoria falls. We explored the Zambia side of the falls twice - once in the morning and once in the afternoon - which is definitely worth doing. Not only are the views great but we saw some nice birds as well. We also spent an afternoon crossing over to Zimbabwe to see the falls from there as well. We were there in October and the view from Zimbabwe was considerably better as there was a lot more water flowing over the Zimbabwe side of the falls. If you want to do a day trip to Zimbabwe first you need to exit Zambia and get your passport stamped (the border is only 3 minutes walk from the exit gate of the Zambezi Sun). Then you need to cross over the bridge to the entrance to Zimbabwe. This sounds quick but it would probably take you an hour if you walked so we got a taxi for US$5. You then need to buy a visa to enter Zimbabwe (US$55 for British passports or $30 for Australian). It is then a few minutes walk to the entrance of the national park, which costs $30 each to get into. So it isn't a cheap afternoon out but we thought it was definitely worthwhile. If you want to cross into Zimbabwe make sure you get a double entry visa when you arrive in Zambia, so you can get back in without buying another visa.

We also did a number of other activities while we were there. These included Horse riding (good horses and a nice ride but we didn't see any wildlife apart from some distant birds), Walking safari to see the rhinos (excellent - we got really close to the rhinos. The walk itself is very short which was good as it was very hot, but is followed by a long game drive which was considerably better than I had expected), Livingstone Island/Devils Pool (this was brilliant fun - the views are spectacular and we really enjoyed it), and we also did walking lions and cheetahs and an elephant ride at Makuni Big 5 safaris. I was a bit dubious about the ethics of this but they explained how their conservation programme worked and it all seemed fairly sensible. The animals were all very well cared for and seemed content. Our favourite bit was the cheetahs who started purring as soon as we got close to them. They seemed to love the attention and when you started patting them they would lick you back to say thank you. I could have spent hours with them and it still wouldn't have been enough!

For anyone who wants to pick up some cheap souvenirs there is also a craft market just outside the back entrance of the hotel where the quality is good and the prices are reasonable (although you still need to bargain a bit)."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Shumba Camp

Shumba Camp

"Luxurious Shumba"

3 nights Arrived 16 Oct 2012
"We really enjoyed our time at Shumba. The tents are beautifully appointed with indoor and outdoor showers and indoor and outdoor couches to sit on. There is also a decanter filled with port in the room and biscuits in case you feel peckish. The service is outstanding – the staff are all brilliant and also very friendly. Special mention must also go to the food. It was by far and away the best we had on our trip, which, when you consider the logistics involved is nothing short of miraculous. It wouldn’t be out of place in an expensive London restaurant.

We had some brilliant wildlife sightings while we were at Shumba. In our three days we had really good sightings of a pack of wild dogs, a group of 3 cheetahs (at night), 2 leopard cubs, several groups of lions, about 5 different servals (at night), elephants , hippos, water monitor and roan antelope. The only thing we wanted to see that we didn’t manage was the sable antelope.

However, the game in this area can be sparse and it is also quite possible to drive around for an hour and see absolutely nothing. However, when you do spot something the quality of the sighting is often very good.

I would also have liked a bit more focus on birds, antelope and smaller animals on the game drives. Our guide (who was generally very good) had a bit if a tendency to search for big cats and ignore everything else. However, we found this to be a common issue throughout Zambia."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Mwamba Bushcamp

Mwamba Bushcamp

"Leopards galore at Mwamba"

2 nights Arrived 19 Oct 2012
"We spent two nights at Mwamba. They really should rename this place Leopard camp. We saw at least one leopard on every single game drive from Mwamba. On one night drive we had six separate leopard sightings. Our guide (Patrick) was excellent. He made a point of showing us some of the smaller animals (eg a chameleon) and birds as well as the big cats. We really appreciated this and it certainly makes the game drives much more interesting. Night drives here were excellent with several honey badger sightings.

The hide at Mwamba is brilliant (much better than any other hide we were in during our trip). It is right by a waterhole and it is the only water for quite a considerable distance so attracts a huge variety of animal and bird life during the dry season. We saw 3 lions, impala, bushbuck, fish eagles, sparrowhawk, lovebirds, lilac breasted rollers, plus many other species of birds.

The rooms here are fairly basic and the insect life is extremely prolific. If you can't deal with bugs then choose somewhere else to stay. We were there in October at the end of the dry season and the rooms got incredibly hot - we didn't get a lot of sleep as it was just too warm. If you are staying here during the hottest part of the year then bring a sarong with you that you can wet and sleep under - they were provided in some of the other camps and it makes such a difference. The food was simple but perfectly edible (note that if you stay at the sister camp, Kaingo, you get the same dishes there)."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Average
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Average
Food
Average
Facilities
Average
Tafika

Tafika

"Lovely time at Tafika"

2 nights Arrived 21 Oct 2012
"We really enjoyed our time at Tafika. The game drives were great. Our guide (John) realised pretty quickly that we were interested in birds and smaller animals as well as the big stuff and he found some lovely turacoes and green pigeons for us in a fruiting fig. We only has 2 nights here - in hindsight I wish it had been more. Before we went out on each game drive we discussed options of where to go and what we might see at each place and it was nice to be given a choice. On both afternoon game drives we went in search of wild dogs and we found them both times. There was a group of 17 (including 8 pups) and on both occasions they were very active with all the pups playing with each other.

On one of our mornings we went to a spot where large numbers of grey crowned cranes congregate and we saw them as they flew in, which was lovely. We also saw lions, a leopard, hyenas, civet, genet, elephants, giraffe, a huge heard of buffalo, and lots of other animals while we were here. On one of our afternoon game drives we visited their carmine bee eater hide, which was brilliant. It is in a great position (much better than the one at Kaingo camp). It is worth getting up early in the morning and watching the river as huge flocks of queleas drink at the river and they swarm like locusts - it is spectacular.

The lodge also has a hide by a small waterhole. It isn't as spectacular as the one at Mwamba, as it is very close to the river, but we still saw hammerkop, impala, elephants, hippos, ground hornbill, bushbuck, baboons, banded mongooses and a juvenile eagle. It is nice just to be able to wander in whenever you feel like it.

The food is plentiful and nice and the owners who run the camp are very friendly. The rooms are very well designed and are nice and let in a breeze (if there is one blowing) which is nice. They also supply a sarong like cloth to wet and put over you while you are sleeping when the weather gets really hot. This made such a difference and we really appreciated it.. There is a central point for charging batteries and laptops in the dining area.

Overall we really enjoyed our time at Tafika. The wildlife and terrain is slightly different to the other two camps in the park that we stayed it and I would definitely recommend a stay here and at Mwamba bushcamp - they complement each other very well."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Good
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Kaingo Camp

Kaingo Camp

"Kaingo Camp - disappointing"

3 nights Arrived 23 Oct 2012
"Kaingo was the only disappointing place we stayed during our three week safari in Zambia. We felt a bit like it was a place run for the convenience of the managers rather than the pleasure of the guests. At no time were we asked what we wanted to see and what our interests were - we were just told which jeep we were in and off we went. The only time we got to choose our activities was in the middle of the day when we got to pick which hide we wanted to visit.

Both guides had a severe case of what I call "Big Cat-itis" where they focus on lions/leopards to the exclusion of everything else. This is such a shame as you miss so much on a game drive by ignoring the smaller things. It also contrasted badly to the two previous camps we were in - Mwamba and Takifa.

We kept being taken back to the same group of lions on every game drive. However, most of the time they were asleep - and lions lazing under a tree get a bit dull after a while. I'd much rather watch a group of baboons for an hour than a group of lions. However, I wasn't given the choice. We just sped straight past things like baboons.

The night drives here were also disappointing compared to the other camps that we visited. All the animals we saw were much further away and more skittish.

The hides were also a bit of a disappointment. We went to the hippo hide twice, but the hippos were a considerable distance from the hide so you don't get an up close and personal view like I was hoping for. The elephant hide was nicely positioned up in a tree at a point where the elephants cross the river. However, on the day we were due to go to the elephant hide we had been told to meet in reception at 12:30 which we did. We waited around for about 15 minutes for someone to appear and eventually they did and we were asked "Why aren't you at the hide?". Apparently the elephants had crossed early and the other guests had gone over at 12:00 but no-one came to get us so we didn't know. By the time we got to the hide the elephants were half way across the river and travelling away from us (so not great for the photos). It would have been lovely had we seen the whole thing but the best bits happened before we got there - which was frustrating. Once the elephants had finished crossing we were told "that's it - we're going now" without being given any option to stay longer - despite only having been there for about 20 minutes. At no stage was there any apology for messing us around.

It wasn't all bad. We saw lions, hyenas, a leopard up a tree with a kill (actually very close to Mwamba bushcamp and found by Patrick - the Mwamba guide), it just wasn't as good as it could have been, which was deeply frustrating. There are very tame bushbucks and vervet monkeys in the surrounding bush. We were nearly joined by a vervet monkey in the bath on one day.

The rooms are ok - although they don't let much breeze in so they get VERY hot. The outside bathtub is a nice touch and lovely in the hot weather. The food is mostly average - although we did get the occasional really nice dish. But there is no choice - you just get what you are given."
Poor
Location
Good
Service
Poor
Activities
Poor
Rooms
Average
Food
Average
Facilities
Average
Wasa Lodge

Wasa Lodge

"Brilliant Bats"

3 nights Arrived 26 Oct 2012
"We really enjoyed our time at Wasa. The camp is run and managed by the Kasanka trust and it is great to know that the profits go straight back into the upkeep of the park. The camp manager is brilliant. At the start of our stay he asked us what we wanted to see and designed a programme for us to be able to fit everything in - despite our limited time. We were incredibly well looked after throughout our entire stay.

When we arrived there was a sitatunga grazing by the shore of the lake about 150 metres from the lodge. It's great to see a species of antelope that is normally so elusive up close (although you still need either a decent camera lens or pair of binos to get a good view). He stayed in roughly the same spot throughout our visit and they tell us he gets slightly closer to the lodge as the season continues each year.

The first evening we were there we went up to the BBC hide to watch the bats emerge from their trees. This was spectacular. We were told there were between 2 and 5 million bats when we were there at the end of October and that number would have continued to rise during November. Potential visitors should be aware that the climb up to the hide involves a long and rickety ladder attached to the tree - this isn't suitable for anyone who is scared of heights or anyone who has any mobility issues. However, you can also get a good view of the bats from the ground.

The following morning we went back up to the BBC hide to see the bats come back to their trees. This was also amazing - I think the bats come slightly closer as they return in the morning. Note that it does get cold so early in the morning and also during the drive in an open vehicle - I wore a fleece and some lightweight thermals under my safari gear. On our way back to the lodge we saw a family of baboons. The Kasanka baboons are a slightly different type - they are currently doing genetic testing to determine if they are a subspecies or whether they just exhibit different behaviours. They are currently the subject of some research so they are fairly well habituated and we had a lovely sighting watching them groom each other in the early morning sun.

We then went back to the lodge to ditch our warm clothes and have a bacon sandwich before heading off again on a drive to the river. We had some nice bird sightings on the way and also saw a family of jackals running in the distance. We also had a very brief sighting of a bushbaby (the jeep startled a dwarf mongoose who ran into a hole at the bottom a tree and a bushbaby poked his head out the top to see what the fuss was about).

We did a canoe trip on the river which was lovely. We saw some lovely birds including 5 species of kingfisher, Martial eagle, cormorants, egrets, bee eaters and a Ross's Turaco.

After a long lunch and a brief siesta we went for a walk where we saw lots of interesting insects and a few more birds.

On our drive home we looked for the sable antelope but unfortunately didn't see them.

We had flown into Kasanka on a private charter flight with Skytrails. Our pilot stayed with us at the lodge and he offered to fly us up to shoebill island for the day and do some scenic flying over the herds of black lechwe and tsesebe for a cost of $500. After a bit of thinking we decided to do it and were extremely glad we did as it turned out to be a great day. Flying over the herds of lechwe was spectacular as thousands of them congregate together. We walked through the swamps to see a shoebill and got very close (within 20 metres) - he was totally unfased - at one point he went to sleep. They are such spectacular birds. We then did a game drive in search of the tsesebe, which we found, another huge herd. We also drove through the massive herds of lechwe. There were lots of other birds and the whole day was fantastic. I would definitely recommend it as a day trip if you have access to a plane. It is also possible to drive but not in one day as the road is in very poor condition.

The following morning we went on another short game drive to try and find the sable antelope - but unfortunately they eluded us again. We did, however, see some bushpigs, which made the drive worthwhile.

Visitors to Kasanka should be aware that the game is nowhere near as prolific or as habituated as in the other Zambian National parks. Almost all of the antelope we saw ran away as soon as they saw or heard the jeep. However, the amazing spectacle of the bats, the chance to see the sitatunga and the excellent birdlife make this an extremely worthwhile destination for those who don't just want to see the Big Five. Add to that the fact that every cent that you pay goes straight back into the upkeep and protection of the park. I would also definitely recommend shoebill island - either as a day trip or a longer visit depending on your budget and time constraints."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Old Mondoro Bushcamp

Old Mondoro Bushcamp

"Old Mondoro Camp"

3 nights Arrived 29 Oct 2012
"We enjoyed our stay at Old Mondoro. The camp is in a lovely area and was visited by elephants multiple times each say. At no time were the elephants aggressive - they were there to eat the fruiting pods and to cross onto the islands in the middle of the river. However, at times we were driven to and from our tents just to be on the safe side.

For the first 24 hours the game drives were truly excellent. We spent plenty of time looking at some of the less traditionally spectacular animals like antelope, baboons and birds, which I feel makes for more interesting and varied game drives. We also had a few leopard sightings (including a short sighting of a mother with a very young cub). However, half way through our stay we were joined by different guests and they mentioned to our guide that they really wanted to see big cats. From this point onwards our guide for the daytime game drives got a case of what I call "big-cat-itis" where you charge around the bush looking for big cats to the exclusion of everything else. This is great if you see them, however, it's a bit rubbish if you don't (in this case - we didn't).

One of the highlights of our stay were the night drives. We saw porcupines, leopards, genets, civets and even an aardvark. The guides were certainly good at finding things in the dark, although I suppose the tall trees and open areas really help. They use a red filter on the spotting light for finding animals. However, I did find the ban on flash photography frustrating. I can understand the reasons behind it, however, the jeeps still used their headlights (which didn't have a red filter) and if they came across antelopes that didn't get out of the way quickly enough they would flash their headlights at them. So I did find the ban on flashes slightly contradictory. We took red plastic to put over over camera flashes which helped the cameras to focus in the dim light as the cameras could use the auto assist beams of the flashes. We bought a small role of red plastic lighting gel off ebay for less than £5. The "no flash" rule didn't seem to make the animals any less skitish, or less stunned looking as they would often get dazzled by the jeep headlights anyway. We saw no difference in behaviour from other camps that didn't have this rule.

We also did a river boat trip which was great. We told our boatman that we were really interested in photographing birds and we were the only two on the boat so he did his best and we got some nice shots. We had multiple groups of elephants cross the river in front of us, which was lovely. Seeing elephants in the water is great.

We also did the canoe trip. We found this disappointing. There were three guests on the trip, split over two canoes. However, for almost the whole journey the other canoe went first. This meant that any birds or animals we were trying to photograph would run or fly away when the first canoe drew level with them and the only photos we could get from the second canoe were retreating back or blurred wings. This was made even more annoying by the fact that the man in the first canoe wasn't interested in birds at all and we were. It is just a shame that they hadn't told us before we started that we would be on the second boat the whole times, since if we had known in advance we would have chosen a different activity and gone canoeing on a day when it would just have been the two of us.

The tents were nicely appointed (although I would have liked some shade over the outside bath - you couldn't lie in it for long in the middle of the day without getting sunburnt). The staff were generally helpful and friendly and the food was good."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Chiawa Camp

Chiawa Camp

"Charming Chiawa"

2 nights Arrived 1 Nov 2012
"We had a great stay at Chiawa. We spend 2 nights at Chiawa and wished it has been more. The camp is lovely. Excellent food, great staff and beautiful rooms. We really enjoyed all the activities too. We split our time in the Lower Zambezi between Chiawa and it's sister camp, Old Mondoro. The two camps actually complement each other really well. Despite being fairly close together the terrain and vegetation is totally different. This means you see different birds and animals.

The game drives were excellent. Our driver asked us what we wanted to do and he would always let us know where we were going. If news came through on the radio that another group from our lodge had found something interesting he would ask us first and we would decide as a group whether to go and have a look or to stay where we were. We saw lots of different animals (Including a leopard and her almost adult daughter up a tree) and some really great birds. We did a lovely boat trip on the river as well.

Night drives here are subject to a "no flash" rule. They use red lights to spot the animals. Before we went we bought a small role of red plastic lighting gel (like they use in theatres) to put over our flashes so we could still use them. This definitely helped the cameras to focus in the low light - although it's probably only worthwhile if you have an external flash for an SLR camera. The night drives weren't as good as those at Old Mondoro, but I think this is because the area has quite thick scrub so it's much harder to spot the nocturnal animals.

On our final night we all heard lions roaring very close to camp. We searched for them as we returned from our game drive. They were eventually located on the edge of the river where a dead hippo had washed up on shore. All of the guests at the lodge got onto a boat and we went and had a look from the river. There were 4 lions eating the hippo and trying to protect it from the circling crocodile. It was a brilliant final sighting to end our stay in Zambia."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

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