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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs D from Toronto

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

2

Countries visited

3

Lodges stayed in

15

Excursions taken

2

Great holiday overall

Zambia and 1 other country between 24 Jun 2013 and 9 Jul 2013

Trip rating: Excellent
"We spent one week in Zambia (last week of June) & one week in Botswana (the first week of July). The trip was good.

All transfers and reservations organized by Expert Africa went smoothly without any delays or issues. Thank you Maruska for arranging the logistacs of that trip!"

Arranged By Maruska Adye-Rowe


Flatdogs Camp

Flatdogs Camp

"Great budget-friendly option"

3 nights Arrived 24 Jun 2013
"Great option for those who are on a tighter budget. Good hosts - Jess & Ade. Good accommodation - new tents with everything you need. Good food.

Last but not least, we had great safari experiences with Malama (our guide for three days). When I say "great" I do not mean that we had some exceptional sightings (though we saw quite a lot being particularly lucky with leopard sightings). With Malama and his assistants I am referring to their desire to show us as much as possible even if it required driving us further afield. Malama was really giving it his best and we could tell his affection for the place he was at. They were also trying hard during night drives.

We mentioned that we wanted to see bush babies and on our last night with him we must have driven for an hour looking specifically for them. No bush babies (perfectly fine with us: it's not a zoo, after all). However, Malama and the spotter showed us what real "tracking" is about when they found a leopard who was hunting high up on a tree. What impressed us were the combination of good tracking skills and dedication to do a good job.

It's worth mentioning that we liked the atmosphere at Flatdogs partly because the camp was not even half-full. They only had eight or ten guests including us. If the camp was full, it may have been different: busy, noisy etc. As we experienced it, Flatdogs is highly recommended. We'd stay there again. However, this area of SLNP is certainly busier than further North"
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Tafika

Tafika

"One of a kind experience"

1 night Arrived 27 Jun 2013
"It was a memorable stay, different from any other place we have ever been to. I won't describe food, chalets etc. as it is all good. Again, big thank you to all their staff. What sets Tafika apart is, of course, the fact that John & Carol are owning and managing it. It's obvious that they care and love the place. Also, they treat guests like family. We had lunch with them on both days we were there & we had dinners with their daughters, Jenny & Christine. It was very personal experience which gave us a glimpse into the realities of daily life of the family who is nothing short of being a local legend.

Running a safari camp sounds very romantic but once you meet the people who are living that "romantic" life, it becomes an eye-opening event where the reality takes away some of the charm but you come to respect the amount of dedication, courage and love required to do what Carol and John are doing. I understand that Tafika is much more than a safari operation in the eyes of the local community. We only had two drives with Tafika (given that we spent two other nights at Chikoko). The drives were good (excellent lion sightings one night - we were able to see the pride starting their hunt) but again, what I remember most is how we could talk to the guides who knew not only the animals & birds but also the realities of daily life of a very deprived and poor area of Zambia.

I wish we'd spent more time at Tafika with John & Carol's family and their team. I made it sound all too serious but it was great fun all along & we felt easy and relaxed during our stay. Alexei particularly liked the micro light flight with John (just mentioning it because he's not too fond of heights). I did fly too & it felt unexpectedly natural. I think that staying at Tafika would be an invaluable experience for those guests who are looking not just to find a "happy place" to unwind and spend their holidays but for those who are willing to see a more down to earth authentic side of living in a challenging country such as Zambia while running a safari operation.

Every guide and every team member we met at Tafika impressed us."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Chikoko Tree Camp

Chikoko Tree Camp

"A place to live in the moment & relax"

2 nights Arrived 28 Jun 2013
"Spending time at Chikoko camp certainly had a different feel to it than driving safari. It was Isaac Zulu who lead us to Chikoko on our first day. I remember how Isaac's great sense of humor set a positive tone to our venturing into the bush right from the start.

The remaining two days at Chikoko were spent with Brent Harris. We enjoyed his guiding style, very relaxed and easy going yet informative. On our last morning walk it was just Alexei & I so we mentioned to Brent we'd like to slow down the pace of walk and try to get closer to animals as long as it was safe. It was exactly what we did and we appreciate Brent's flexibility in helping us do so. Those few hours we spent walking in the bush without rushing, posing to see the wildlife is one of the best moments of the entire trip.

The two days we spent at Chikoko allowed us to forget about the rest of the world living in the moment. The set up of the camp contributed to it, of course. It feels even more relaxed and isolated than Tafika but you really have all the "creature comforts". With basic open fire kitchen, the food was always ready and the bread they bake is fantastic! The staff who looked after our needs are very efficient. I would certainly return back to Chikoko and I'd recommend this camp particularly for those who look for more of an active safari style."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Tafika

Tafika

"One of a kind experience"

1 night Arrived 30 Jun 2013
"See comments above."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Avani Victoria Falls

Avani Victoria Falls

"Good choice to stay overnight"

1 night Arrived 1 Jul 2013
"Nothing special but good place to stop over to see Victoria Falls. A busy place which might not be conductive to relaxation."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Average
Activities
Good
Rooms
Average
Food
Average
Facilities
Good
Kwara Camp

Kwara Camp

"Not the optimal"

4 nights Arrived 2 Jul 2013
"My husband and I stayed at Kwara for four nights and were a bit disappointed. We realize Botswana is an expensive destination so we expected nicer facilities and better service than in Zambian camps but it was not the case. The toilet & sink were outdated, there was a recurring problem with hot water supply to our tent. We complained to the staff once & they tried fixing it but unsuccessfully so we just had to make do. Then another couple from another tent who were a bit more demanding complained so the staff took it more seriously and on the last day of our stay it was fixed. We understand that we are in the bush and getting hot water can be difficult but they advertise that their heating system supplies hot water at any time of day except it didin't work.

Secondly, both my husband and I found that quantity of food was a little scarce, particularly at lunch time. A few times we would have to limit our portions seeing that if we took the food in quantities we wanted, there would be very little left for others (i.e. taking the last sausage on the grill without knowing if they have extra). As a side note, my appetite is not gargantuan but rather moderate. Breakfast options were rather limited too.

The most disappointing experience were the activities. We were hoping that we could have at least a couple boat rides (the reason we went to Okavango was that we wanted to see the area being on the water). Well, as it turned out, we could not choose the activities: we were told what we would be doing each day. We only had one boat ride & by the time we go back all five of us (including three fellow tourists from UK) were rather glad it was over. The guide (Hobbs) was assigned to take us for a boat tour but we understand he normally works at Little Kwara so I guess he didn't really care. He showed up late. There was another guide (Wilson) who was driving the boat and he was obviously on a learning curve which is totally ok as long as you don't practice with tourists on board. We crashed into a dead tree one our way back. Luckily, nobody was injured but I had to assume "brace position" as airlines call it which saved me from scratches and bruises. We laugh at it now in hindsight but strictly speaking, it shows lack of operational skills on management's side, it's not just the guide's fault.

We had one short mokoro trip on the morning before we departed - better than nothing... The morning safaris were good. There was one guide, Master, whom we only had for one day, and he did great job tracking cheetahs on our first morning at Kwara. Then he had a death in the family and we were reassigned to another guide, George. He was good too but something tells us our experience with Master would've been better.

The night drives were totally useless. As soon as the sun would go down and it would get dark, both the guide and the spotter would head back to camp without any serious attempts to make it a memorable experience for their guests. I understand that wild life is called wild for a reason & not one guide will guarantee anything... However, it seemed our guides were slacking off during night drives but again, we picked up on it only because we had good night drives in Zambia before (good not only in terms of what we saw at night but mostly in terms of effort which went into finding the creatures of the night). Other guests at Kwara would probably be ok with night drives there thinking that it's normal not to see any nocturnal creatures except the usual game which you see during the daylight (i.e. Impalas, zebras, hippos, elephants etc)."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Average
Activities
Average
Rooms
Average
Food
Average
Facilities
Average
Image alt

Planet Baobab

"Good stop to experience salt pans"

3 nights Arrived 6 Jul 2013
"Planet Baobab is good value for money. Guides are ok. The highlight of the trip was, of course, the night in the Nxai salt pen under the open starts. It was incredible, certainly an experience to remember. Quad bikes are fun too! If you stay there - that's the thing to do. We feel we could've easily cut the stay at Planet B to two nights as opposed to three as the cultural experience and visit to Gweta town was rater ordinary."
Average
Location
Good
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Average
Food
Average
Facilities
Average

My Sep 2012 trip

Namibia between 21 Sep 2012 and 7 Oct 2012

Trip rating: Excellent
"It was a great trip overall.

Namibia is very safe & comfortable country for those who want to travel independetly without a guide. You can easily travel with kids too!

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

When we want to visit Africa again, I will certainly return to plan our trip with Expert Africa team. Saskia was great: very helpful & provided practical useful comments while helping us to plan our trip. Thank you Saskia!"

Villa Violet

Villa Violet

"Villa Violet review"

1 night Arrived 21 Sep 2012
"It was easy to find Villa Violet driving from Windhoek Intl airport. It is located in good area of Windhoek.

We walked to restaurants for dinner twice & had no issues. The owners of the place will help you find the nearby places such as gas stations, shopping malls etc. Heidi helped us make a dinner reservation when we arrived which was a nice touch & allowed us to relax after long flights."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Hoodia Desert Lodge

Hoodia Desert Lodge

"Hoodia Desert Lodge review"

3 nights Arrived 22 Sep 2012
"Very nice lodge. Attentive staff. Good food. No delay in service.

Great base to explore Sossusvlei."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Activities
Good
Image alt

Central Guest House, Namibia (this camp has since closed)

"Central Guest House review"

4 nights Arrived 25 Sep 2012
"Nice place & budget-friendly too.

Anya & other staff members were very helpful & answered all questions. They helped us book dinners couple of times on Saturday calling around.

Great breakfast which they will serve quite early for you if you tell them the night before.

Whilst here, we arranged for a day-trip for these travellers to Sandwich Harbour. They commented:

Excellent.
The tour to experience Sandwich Harbour was an EXCELLENT EXPERIENCE! This place is beautiful & Turnstone goes out of their way to make this a memorable visit. One thing to keep in mind is that you have to get up early in the morning to be able to get into Sandwich Harbour before high tide cuts out access... Sea level changes & Turnstone called us the night before saying they will pick us up at 6:30am rather than 8am next morning. But then again, the best time of day in Namibia IS early morning & late evening so you get used to getting up early.

We also organised a kayaking excursion from Pelican Point. They wrote about this:

Excellent.
It was fun! Who'd think that fur seals, so passive ashore, would be so playful in the water. We did couple hours of light kayaking not leaving the Pelican Point lagoon due to expected high wind. This was an easy exercise & it was very nice to be in the water for a change. Jean is great too."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Coast and Sandwich Harbour

Coast and Sandwich Harbour

"Sandwich Harbour tour with Turnstone GREAT"

27 Sep 2012 • All-day excursion

The tour to experience Sandwich Harbour was an EXCELLENT EXPERIENCE! This place is beautiful & Turnstone goes out of their way to make this a memorable visit. One thing to keep in mind is that you have to get up early in the morning to be able to get into Sandwich Harbour before high tide cuts out access... Sea level changes & Turnstone called us the night before saying they will pick us up at 6:30am rather than 8am next morning. But then again, the best time of day in Namibia IS early morning & late evening so you get used to getting up early.
Excellent
Kayaking with seals

Kayaking with seals

"Lot's of fun kayaking with fur seals."

28 Sep 2012 • Morning excursion

It was fun! Who'd think that fur seals, so passive ashore, would be so playful in the water. We did couple hours of light kayaking not leaving the Pelican Point lagoon due to expected high wind. This was an easy exercise & it was very nice to be in the water for a change. Jean is great too.
Excellent
Doro Nawas

Doro Nawas

"Doro Nawas is very good"

1 night Arrived 29 Sep 2012
"Doro Nawas lodge is located in a beautiful & quiet corner of Damaraland.

You can pull out your bed & sleep on the terrace under the stars. No bugs or flies ever bothered us so we had a great night of sleep.

The next morning the staff had a "surprise breakfast" for those who wanted to get up at 6:30am. They drove us to the nearest mountain 10 min away from the lodge & when we arrived nicely set breakfast was waiting. It was the "sunupper" experience ;-) Opposite of "sundowner I guess..."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Palmwag Lodge

Palmwag Lodge

"Palmwag Lodge at par with lower expectations"

2 nights Arrived 30 Sep 2012
"We read lots of negative reviews about Palwag Lodge so we prepared for the worst. In fact, it wasn't bad at all.

The tents are worn out of course, & there are few things that need fixing. Service was all right. Not outstanding but not outrageously bad either.

Whilst here, we organised a full day excursion to see a Ovahimba community. They commented:

Good - Himba tour very interesting & worthwhile.

It just so happened that there were only two of us on that tour - my husband and I. The driver was great. We picked up our guide who translated from Otjihimba language into English. The overall experience was very interesting and unusual.

However, we had instances where we'd ask a question & the answer he translated for us seemed incorrect. For example, we asked whether their dresses and headpieces reflect their social or marital status & the answer we got was a simple no! It's hard to say whether the guide translated our question incorrectly or he simply did not want to go into great detailed talk with villagers... However, a knowledgeable guide should know these things and he should've given us a more detailed answer given he knows the lifestyle/customs/traditions etc.

We were really curios to find out more about people we met but somehow the guide wasn't really that helpful... Don't let our comments stop you from going on that tour, it will be very unique experience regardless of how knowledgeable your guide is."
Excellent
Location
Average
Service
Average
Activities
Good
Rooms
Poor
Food
Average
Facilities
Average
Okaukuejo Camp

Okaukuejo Camp

"Okaukuejo Camp: fascinating"

2 nights Arrived 2 Oct 2012
"The camp facilities were good. The service was not bad as well.

Of course, the main reason to stay there is to be close to the waterhole. One night we saw a great night show starring six black rhinos, several lions and elephants, giraffes & lots of smaller animals interacting by the waterhole. You won't see that kind of action during the day.

It was fascinating."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Mushara Bush Camp

Mushara Bush Camp

"Mushara Bush Camp was very nice & relaxing"

2 nights Arrived 4 Oct 2012
"Great base to explore the Eastern part of Etosha. Beautifuly set in the bush. Attentive staff. Swimming in the pool at the end of the hot day was so refreshing.

Be prepared for late dinners though: the official dinner time is 7:30pm but they start servicing food closer to 8pm. Once every few nights they do a BBQ outside under the stars which is also nice. The staff will sign for you & they are quite good."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Villa Violet

Villa Violet

"Villa Violet review"

1 night Arrived 6 Oct 2012
"Good lodge to start or finish your trip. Very helpfull owners too. Few places for dinner are within walking distance."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good

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