Travel reviews by Mr C & Ms B from Macclesfi
Total number of trips
Lodges stayed in
A wonderful month away from the UK winter!
Namibia between 3 Nov 2018 and 4 Dec 2018
We were lucky to be able to spend 4 weeks in Namibia, and whilst we covered almost 6000km, we were able to spend 2 or 3 nights in all the camps to get a real feel for the various locations.
We visited some areas in the South of the country, which we hadn't been to before, and these were generally quieter and more remote than the more popular areas such as Etosha. We loved it!"
"Still a great starting point"
"A very pleasant surprise"
Its location in respect of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park - only 5km from the Mata-Mata border post made it easy to do day trips into the park, and we saw a good amount of game in this very attractive area.
The lodge itself has great accommodation (we were in a luxury tented chalet) and is run by Danny and Yvonne who did everything possible to enhance our stay.
The sundowner trip around the farm was excellent, as was the food."
Lodge not featured by Expert Africa
Fish River Lodge
We experienced the famous Fish River Canyon hot gale force wind one night, and now know why ear plugs were issued on check-in!
We did the sundowner drive and a self-guided sunrise walk, both of which were excellent.
Unless walking in the canyon (not an option at the time of year we were there), a full day is an appropriate stay."
It is a little far from the centre of Luderitz, restaurants etc to make walking a comfortable option.
We arrived on a Sunday, and as the guide book suggests Luderitz closes all day, so choice was limited.
The owner was most helpful, and the breakfast arrangements with Kairos Cottage next door worked well"
12 Nov 2018 • All-day excursion
The 6 of us on the trip had a wonderful time, and the journey through the Sperrgebeit and its ghost towns was breathtaking.
An excellent lunch was provided in the quirky surrounds of the old schoolhouse at Pomona ghost town.
Can't recommend this tour enough - but ask for Eric!
The bungalows were, to say the least, compact, but wonderfully and innovatively equipped - although with kitchen, bathroom and toilet and sleeping in the same room, many couples may not have liked it!
We were fine however.
We bought the braai packs for evening meals and had the breakfast packs supplied, and just enjoyed the peace and quiet and the stunning views.
The facilities at the Desert Horse Inn were excellent, although we were so happy at Eagle's Nest we didn't use them, and Peter and his team were excellent too.
We will definitely return here - but would like to experience the full-sized accommodation!"
Zebra River Lodge
We used it as a base to go to Sossusvlei one day (we had been there before), but in truth it is a little far away on bad roads."
Barkhan Dune Retreat
"Barchan Dune Retreat review"
The lodge is set in stunning scenery, and the room we had was built into a dune. It was very hot during our stay, and the room was a little difficult to cool.
We went on the sundowner farm drive which was interesting, with quite a lot of game on show.
We liked Barchan Dune last time we stayed there, and still do"
Sun Karros Daan Viljoen
"Good retreat near Windhoek"
The walk from the chalet to the restaurant, pool etc was quite long and involved walking across an open dirt area through wandering animals, which was not pleasant at night.
The facilities were excellent, with the swimming pool by far the best we encountered on our entire trip.
We went on the late afternoon drive, which was a little disappointing as the guide/driver was not very communicative or knowledgeable.
All in all a comfortable stay, near Windhoek and convenient for the beginning or end of a trip, but more of a hotel than a traditional lodge."
Ghaub Guest Farm
"Beautiful grounds at Gaub"
The rooms are big and airy and the veranda outside was an ideal place to sit, relax and watch the plentiful birdlife."
River Dance Lodge
"Interesting Accommodation over the River"
We spent two mornings on fishing activity, which was hugely enjoyable, although we didn't worry the fish!
The new owners are on site and are both hospitable and very easy to talk to, which makes this lodge an intimate and friendly place to stay."
Onguma Camp Kala
"Still a wonderful camp"
All the staff here are very attentive and it is a wonderful place to relax.
Unfortunately we arrived just after torrential rains which had left the surrounding bush saturated, which affected the areas of the reserve that the sundowner drive could access, but this was still a very worthwhile activity"
The other advantage of the camp is that you can exit into Etosha at sunrise for an early morning game drive ( even though the deterioration in Etosha's roads in the last couple of years can make this uncomfortable). This is certainly the best time to see game.
The camp is large and can be noisy (especially from the campsite). The restaurant, although not cheap, provides reasonable food although its management is somewhat chaotic albeit the staff are very friendly.
One of the swimming pools was out of use and had not been drained and looked disgusting!"
Okonjima Bush Camp
"Great ending for trip"
The restaurant/pool etc was quite a walk away, but was no problem.
We went on the cheetah, leopard and night hide activities. All were good, but the leopard tracking activity was outstanding, with the guide Rohan brilliant. The activity coincided with a huge thunderstorm, which turned the sand rivers into real rivers - something we had never seen before.
It was a great place to end our trip, although it is a good 3.5hr drive back to the airport which could be problematic if there are any hold-ups on the roadwork stricken B1."
November trip to Namibia and Botswana
Namibia and 1 other country between 18 Nov 2016 and 8 Dec 2016
Namibia and Botswana are beautiful countries.
We hope to go again and would certainly use Expert Africa."
The welcome was friendly, the accommodation and food (provided by a long-standing accomplished chef) excellent, and the pool facilities very comfortable. There is also the added bonus of being able to go for walks in the bush, and the waterhole which provided our first porcupine sighting.
All in all, a great place to relax for a couple of days after long flights etc."
"Art Deco in Swakopmund"
Whilst we did not eat dinner here as there are so many good eating places to explore in Swakopmund, the breakfasts were excellent. The location is perfect - quiet, but a very short walk from all the town's attractions. There was no secure parking available so we parked in an on-street parking bay directly alongside the guesthouse and we left nothing in the vehicle overnight for complete peace of mind.
Staff very friendly and helpful, if at times a little over-enthusiastic in trying to sell the massages available."
Coast and Sandwich Harbour
22 Nov 2016 • All-day excursion
Berger, the guide and driver was friendly, informative and knowledgeable, and also provided a splendid sea-shore lunch. A great day out.
Erongo Wilderness Lodge
"Beautiful tents amongst the rocks"
The camp's restaurant and bar area was comfortable and when the weather was good, dining on the terrace overlooking a floodlit water hole and beneath a star studded sky was wonderful.
All the camp staff were extremely helpful and friendly. We felt very welcome and well looked after."
"Great waterhole at Okaukuejo"
The food was also very reasonable for such a large camp, and the staff were friendly and helpful although the service in the restaurant seemed a little haphazard
We went on the night drive, and although many of the animals decided not to show themselves that night, being driven around the bush with a starry sky and the occasional flash of lightning in the distance was still a worthwhile and enjoyable experience,"
"Nice quiet camp in Etosha"
The restaurant was comfortable, with outside covered seating and the food was good for the type of camp. We did experience difficulty getting a drink when we arrived mid-afternoon - there appeared to be no bar open outside of restaurant hours.
The waterhole at this camp is quite a long walk from the accommodation and common areas and appeared (on our one visit) to be far less frequented than some others within Etosha.
The swimming pool looked inviting, although we did not use it, and we did no activities as we did our own early morning game drive."
Onguma Camp Kala
"Wonderful tree house"
All the staff are friendly and helpful, and the food cooked in front of you is excellent and imaginatively presented. The ambience of the common areas and the communal dining table makes for a great opportunity for sharing stories and conversation with other guests
We did both a night drive (not advertised or recommended by the camp, but at our request), and an excellent sun-downer drive (shared with 4 guests from tented camp), and Justin the guide on both occasions was both friendly and very knowledgeable.
Whilst there is no swimming pool at Tree Top, we were invited to use the facilities at the nearby Tented Camp where we also had an excellent lunch.
This was the second time we had stayed at this camp. It was our favourite on the first trip and remained so on this. Our only regret was that we only stayed 2 nights this time."
Hakusembe River Lodge
"Great view of Angola from Hakusembe"
Everything about the lodge was pleasant without being spectacular, and for us it served its purpose well."
Ndhovu Safari Lodge
"Hippos grunting in the night at Ndhovu"
The camp is located a short drive from the Mahango National Park and we did an early morning self-drive through this which was excellent.
The camp food was good - we especially liked the smoked zebra on the breakfast meat platter!- and the staff and service were good, even though the friendly host and hostess were apparently leaving the camp a few days after our departure. Communal dining enhanced the evening at the camp
We went on the sun-downer river trip which was enjoyable both for the trip and the company of two of the other guests."
"Bird and fishing paradise at Nxamaseri"
Although the exceedingly low water levels in the delta meant that the noises of wild animals heard from the camp had been replaced by cowbells and braying donkeys from nearby grazing animals, this did not detract from this water based experience. Our private guide Adam was brilliant, and we thoroughly enjoyed the fishing trips and makoro activities on the beautiful water-lilly covered waters. The birdlife was stunning - every bit as good as we were expecting.
The camp accommodation was spacious enough, but appeared to be in need of some refurbishment, (which is apparently due early 2017). For example, holes in the mosquito nets.
The common areas were pleasant, with a nice camp fire area and a communal dining table to encourage sociable evening chat. The lack of modern-day trappings such as Wi-fi, cell phone coverage and mains electricity enhances the wilderness experience to which the camp aspires.
The food was a little disappointing. Breakfasts and light lunches were reasonable, but the evening meals were not inspired, and the 'lamb chops' served on our third night were actually inedible. The staff however were all friendly and attentive and the service was good."
Kalahari Arms Hotel
"Overnight in Ghanzi"
The room was a chalet on a lawn adjacent to a really good swimming pool and it was nicely appointed with all the trappings that would be found in a modern motel type room. Everything was very clean and comfortable. There was also a lot of secure parking.
The food in the hotel was really good - we had a late snack lunch in a pleasant courtyard space, and an evening meal in the restaurant where the Botswanan beef steak was beautiful. Breakfast the next morning was also very good. All the restaurant staff did a great job and were friendly and attentive.
All in all this was a lovely surprise package"
"Lovely last stay"
Facilities include a large swimming pool on a lawn with a view over a large area of bush and more distant mountain. The bush is a well-stocked game conservancy and our binoculars therefore got more use than the Kindles!
We did go on an excellent sun-downer drive with a number of other guests, and whilst the conservancy is somewhat managed, the variety of wildlife is impressive - we saw game here that we had seen nowhere else on this trip.
Food at the resort was excellent, and the dining facilities offered both indoor and outdoor seating.
Only an hour's drive from the airport, this was a great place to end our trip"
Our March 2013 trip
Namibia between 6 Mar 2013 and 25 Mar 2013
A wonderful country from every perspective. All the arrangements worked well. We would happily do it all again tomorrow!"
"Eningu -first two nights of holiday"
Food very good and owner and staff all helpful. Nice pool and the very good hide was a surprise bonus."
Barkhan Dune Retreat
"Unusual Barchan Dune"
Welcoming and entertaining hosts supplied good food and copious quantities of wine, and dining with them in their home was a pleasure and most informative in respect of Namibian life and local knowledge etc.. We were too tired that day to partake of the offered sundowner drive but other guests enjoyed it.
A great place for a one or two night stay"
Sossus Dune Lodge
"Sossus Dune Lodge in the National Park"
We went on a sundowner drive to the dunes with a really good guide, who was extremely informative in respect of the location and also in respect of Namibian life. The three of us were lucky enough to have the desert to ourselves that evening! This enthused us to get up early and make our own trip to watch sunrise the next day."
"Swakopmund - 4 nights by the sea"
The whole property was spotlessly clean and very well equipped. Breakfasts were superb and the owner and staff very friendly and helpful.
Whilst in Swakopmund, we arranged for these travellers to take a day-trip to Sandwich Harbour. The commented about it:
"Sandwich Harbour - a day in the dunes: Excellent"
A marvellous day with driver and guide Ernest who was unbelievably knowledgeable and so obviously passionate about the geology, birds, flora and fauna of this beautiful area. We were taken on a 3 hour walk through the (muddy) lagoon and dunes and the drive to Sandwich along the beach and back through the dunes (necessitated by high tide) was simply stunning. Whilst the excellent picnic lunch had to be taken in a wind-sheltered hollow rather than on top of a dune which Ernest would have preferred in less windy conditions, it was still a memorable meal.
Whilst the trip appears to be relatively expensive, the personal nature of it, attention to detail and the wonderful location make it unmissable if staying in Swakopmund for a few days."
Coast and Sandwich Harbour
"Sandwich Harbour - a day in the dunes"
12 Mar 2013 • All-day excursion
Whilst the trip appears to be relatively expensive, the personal nature of it, attention to detail and the wonderful location make it unmissable if staying in Swakopmund for a few days.
"Terrace Bay - not applicable"
"Beneath the stars at Doro Nawas"
The staff were all extremely friendly, helpful and professional and were obviously (justly) proud of their camp and very happy to be working there. They could not do enough for their guests.
The food and service were excellent -the only minor observation is that the excellent breakfast buffet should be better protected from the attentions of the local bird population!
It was so hot during our stay that we decided to relax in the camp facilities rather than go on the offered activities. The highlight for us however was the facility to wheel the comfortable beds onto the deck at night, gaze at the shooting stars and passing satellites and sleep beneath the amazing sky before waking to see stunning sunrise colours.
Whilst not affecting us in any way, we would observe that the distance and terrain between chalets, restaurant etc might make this a difficult camp for anyone with impaired mobility."
"Dolomite - the 'new' Etosha government camp i"
The accommodation itself is on the small side, and for a newish camp somewhat disappointing. It was also not altogether clean, and the level of maintenance (light bulbs, cracked glass etc) seemed low, making us think that the camp could deteriorate quite quickly. This is probably caused through the apparent staffing situation, as whilst all the staff we encountered were friendly and helpful, there just did not seem enough of them to service the camp efficiently or fully. This lead to poor service in the restaurant and bar, with the sight of staff doubling up on reception/waiting/bar and even maintenance work! Having said that, when food in the restaurant did arrive, it was good.
We preferred to go on our own game drives rather than those offered, and there were plenty of waterholes, and game within a very short distance of the camp, so there was no disappointment with this aspect.
We were a little surprised to encounter a family with a 1 year old baby which understandably made its lack of appreciation of the heat and its surroundings loudly heard. In our opinion this camp is really unsuited for young children in respect of its position, the fact that it is unfenced etc.and its overall facilities"
"Okaukejo - the waterhole camp"
The star of this camp is obviously the waterhole. With the surrounding seating, floodlighting etc and the abundance of game coming to it throughout the day and night, the stay here was really good"
Onguma Camp Kala
"Tree top in Onguma"
The staff here were brilliant too. Very personal and attentive service, food beautifully cooked in the open kitchen and presented personally by the chef. Nothing too much trouble for them.
We went on both a night drive and a sundowner drive here, and both were excellent. The guide was great and the variety of animals (and snakes!) spotted impressive.
Sleeping in the tree house with the front open and the sounds of the night was awesome. Being woken by lions roaring or hyenas cackling was a terrific experience. Our only regret was that we didn't spend longer here."
"An elegant disappointment!"
The restaurant was crowded for the one sitting evening meal, and the food, whilst adequate was nowhere near the standard that we had come to love in Namibia.
Halfway through the evening meal a large electrical storm knocked out the mains electricity. Whilst the staff reacted promptly with candles and struck up the generator, it was announced that the latter was too noisy to operate all night and that it would be switched off in half an hour's time (9.00pm!). This lead to a very uncomfortable night as it was extremely hot and humid and one of the features that had attracted us to the place was the provision of air conditioning. The generator was not restarted until 7.00am. A long night!
Whilst we obviously do not criticise the staff for the electricity failure, we do think that accommodation of this size (and cost) should have the facility to cope with such an occurrence, which according to the relief manager was not a rare event, with outages lasting for many hours or days. As on this occasion there was no indication as to when power would be restored, we decided not to spoil our trip by risking the prospect of another miserable night and checked out and went on to spend our final night in Windhoek.
Two positive points. Once we had decided to check out a day early, the staff were very helpful in telephoning etc to assist us to arrange accommodation in Windhoek. The terrible road (26km of it) that you warn of to get to the property, is undergoing major reconstruction and should eventually be much better."
At the time that our travelers visited, there was relief manager on duty but unfortunately he did not inform Jorn about any of the issues raised. Once Jorn heard about the problems, via our feedback system, he was most apologetic about the unfortunate experiences that these travellers had. He has assured us that he will not be making use of this particular relief manager's services in the future so the usual standards of cleanliness and efficiency will be returned to normal.
As a gesture of goodwill Jorn has offered these travellers a full refund for their two nights stay.
Bettina is a charming an attentive host, and the lodge is a great place to relax for a day or two after a long journey.
There are no formal activities, but the hide and ability to do bush walks is good."