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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Miss J & Mr S from Sutton

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

2

Lodges stayed in

3

Excursions taken

0

Our August 2013 trip

Tanzania and 1 other country between 5 Aug 2013 and 18 Aug 2013

Trip rating: Excellent
"Our trip was fantastic and it was truly the perfect honeymoon!!!

Thank you to all at Expert Africa for making this happen!!!"

Arranged By Elizabeth Chapman


Lake Manze Adventure Camp

Lake Manze Adventure Camp

"Truly Authentic and Amazing Camp"

3 nights Arrived 6 Aug 2013
"My husband and I stayed here for 3 nights at the start of our honeymoon and we were hugely impressed. I have been on safari before and stayed at some lovely camps, but Lake Manze really is to be recommended. It has a very authentic feel and really makes you feel like you are in the bush. All the tents are on the shore of Lake Manze and the views are superb. There was a constant stream of anumals that walked past our tent, both day and night.

We had initially toyed with the idea of doing the Northern Circuit (Serengeti, Ngorongoro etc), but chose the South as it seemed to be more secluded, less busy and more authentic. I am so happy that we did this as we weren't disappointed.

The camp is impecably run by Pippa, the manager and she is extremely welcoming and accomodated all our requests. There are a large selection of activities on offer here, namely full day drives (including a trip to the hot springs), morning and evening drives, walks, boat trips and fishing. There is lots to do at the camp and in hindsight we should have stayed 5 nights and not moved on to Mdonya Old River Camp, in Ruaha), which was slightly disppointing. Pippa was very informative about all these activities and explained each one in detail to us. She would talk to all guests before dinner to arrange the activities for the next day. I loved that fact that she always tried to make sure that each party was on their own for an activity at least one during their stay. This really showed that some thought had been put into this.

In terms of wildlife, the Reserve is absolutely teaming with animals and birds - I don't think 5 mins passed without us seeing something - even if it was only an impala! The only time we didn't see many animals was on the way to the hot springs, but we had already been pre-warned about this by Pippa so it wasn't an issue. We had some amazing experiences with lions, elephants and baby hyenas. Our guides and drivers were fantastic and hugely knowledgeable about everything. The only animal that we didn't manage to see was the elusive leopard, but hat wasn't through lack of trying on the part of our guides!

The food was good and very wholesome - the type of food you may cook yourself. There's always lots available and you never go hungry.

All in all, this isn't a luxurious camp, but what in lacks in luxury it makes up (and more) in hospitality! I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this camp to anyone looking for somewhere to stay during their safari!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Mdonya Old River Camp

Mdonya Old River Camp

"Slightly Disappointed...."

2 nights Arrived 9 Aug 2013
"My husband and I stayed here for two nights during the second stop on our honeymoon and we were slightly disappointed. Perhaps it was because we had just come from Lake Manze Camp in Selous (a sister camp), which we thought was so amazing. Unfortunately Mdonya has a way to go to surpass (or even equal) the standard to service that was provided by Lake Manze.

Mary the manager of this camp seemed very appathetic about her job and it really showed in the running of the camp. She only seemed to do what she felt was required and she didn't really seem that interested in how we were. As an example, on our last morning there, as we were leaving for the airport she said "Have a nice day. See you later". She didn't even know we were leaving that day!!

During our stay here we were only ever offered full day drives (which are nice, but can get a bit dull at times). This is in contrast to the array of activities on offer at Lake Manze. I accept that Lake Manze has a number of water based activities on offer, which increases the number of activities they can offer. Half day drives were not really offered as the amount of game is significantly lower than that in Selous and you have to travel a fair distance from the camp before you start to see stuff. There were also problems both days we were there with regards to what time we wanted to leave to go out the next day. It seemed that management were constantly trying to get us (or others) to change what they wanted to do in order to fit in with others and make thier job easier. The excuse we were given was that they only had a certain number of vehicle permits and therefore, some people had to fit in with others. In my opinion, if that is the case, get more permits! When you have a full camp, you should should still be able to offer guests their preferred options more often than not. There also seemed to be a shortage of staff in the camp and the staff that were there were running around like chickens with no heads during peak breakfast times etc.

As stated before, the amount of animals here is not as high as in Selous, but we did manage to see our leopard on our last morning which was fantastic! As Ruaha is a National Park you have to eat in designated areas (where there are often others) and you can't always get as close to the animals as you would like as you have to keep to the roads. Again, this is in contrast to Lake Manze where you can eat in the middles of nowhere, with no one else around and you also get very close to the animals.

The food here is good and very wholesome and always tasty.

I accept that this review may seem excessively harsh, but don't get me wrong, this camp is very pleasant, and we had a good time here, but it's not somewhere that I would rush back to or recommend to a friend. Again I will reiterate, I think we were disppointed because we had had such a fantastic time at Lake Manze. All in all, I would recommend Selous and Lake Manze over Ruaha and Mdonya."
Average
Location
Average
Service
Average
Activities
Average
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Matemwe Retreat

Matemwe Retreat

"WOW, WOW, WOW!!!"

7 nights Arrived 11 Aug 2013
"What an amazing place this was! My husband and I stayed here for 7 nights on the final stop of our honeymoon. It was really difficult choosing a place to stay in Zanzibar as there seem to be so many options, but boy oh boy am I glad we chose Matemwe Retreat.

After a bumpy ride down a dodgy looking dirt road through Matemwe Village we arrived at Matemwe Retreat and we were welcomed by Abdi, our butler with a cold towel and drink. From that moment on our stay was amazing! Abdi was great and did everything (booking activities, drinks, food, advice etc etc etc etc) he could to make our stay enjoyable.

We stayed in Zam Zam and the villas are fantastic, very spacious and the views of the ocean are to die for. The pool on the rooftop was the best bit and we loved that we didn't have to leave our villa at all if we didn't want to.

The food is amazing and I think we had seafood for every meal. This is caught by the local villagers and bought by the hotel and it is always superb. We dined on a few occasions at the main hotel when they had Swahili night and a BBQ. Both were excellent! The cocktail of the day also went down very well:-)

In terms of activities, there is a fairly wide choice. We choose to do snorkelling, the guided reef walk (both provided by the hotel) and diving. All are fantastic and there is loads to sea out there in the ocean! We also had an amazing 3 hour massage pamper session, which was excellent. I don't think I've ever felt so relaxed.

All in all, there are not enough superlatives to describe this place. I was very sad to leave this little piece of paradise and I would recommend it in a heartbeat."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

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