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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs W from Andover

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

2

Countries visited

2

Lodges stayed in

10

Excursions taken

0

Third great trip with Expert Africa - Sunvil

Tanzania between 15 Aug 2009 and 30 Aug 2009

Trip rating: Excellent
"A great holiday - very difficult to find fault with anything, all aspects were of an excellent standard - except

There seemed to be a bit of a mix up when we arrived at Dar es Salaam and nobody came for ages to take us to the domestic flight area - did turn up eventually but it was a bit disconcerting to be virtually the last people off the plan still waiting for a lift, after that everything went well."

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Saadani

"The sea's in the bedroom!!"

4 nights Arrived 16 Aug 2009
"The new moon meant high tides and the lapping of the waves comes quite close to the bungalows at Saadani which are directly on the beach. The location meant that you could watch the sun come up from bed and the local fishermen out with their nets and boats and the ladies with their bundles of wood.

Low tide meant lots of pools and sandbars which attracted a variety of sea birds. The grass was very high so game spotting was quite difficult for the untrained eye but our guide David was very successful in tracking a large herd of buffalo with a large flock of oxpeckers and on our last day his diligence was rewarded with two young male lions up a tree.

The trip to the river is really good especially in the morning for Breakfast with Hippos. The muddy banks mean good hippo viewing as they wallow around sliding in and out of the water. Ample opportunity for close encounters with crocodiles as well. The drive to the river is gives an interesting insight into village life and the locals going about their business - however, people at the salt beds are not happy about having their photos taken - they need to charge a small fee then everyone would be happy.

There is a new swimming pool which has just been finished, plus more bungalows, a new bar and restaurant nearly finished. The building work didn't detract from our enjoyment and the pool was lovely.

You are supposed to be away from it all - but if you do need to phone home mobile phone signal is good due to the proximity of a vodacom mast!!

One little gripe - the lighting in the bathroom was poor. A low energy light bulb with a hessian shade made it very dim - please take the shade off. Thanks to all the staff who were very friendly and helpful, especially David for great driving and spotting."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Sand Rivers Camp

Sand Rivers Camp

"What a lot of lions!"

5 nights Arrived 20 Aug 2009
"Our flight to Sands River was diverted to Beho Beho because of problems with the air strip, but it turned out to be a bonus because Edson our guide had located a pride of lions devouring a zebra which he took us to see on the way to the lodge - it was a great introduction to the Sands River Area. T

he different environments, lakes, river, bush and marsh ensure a great variety of birds and animals and Sands River provide a great variety of ways to see and enjoy them which are really well organised. Won't say too much it will spoil the surprise!. Edson was a great guide, excellent driver, boatman and spotter who greatly added to our enjoyment of the holiday and kept us safe.

Drifting through the Stigler gorge was lovely - so peaceful - it would be a great shame if this part of the river trip was stopped - hopefully Sands River can come to some arrangement with their neighbours.

Early morning tea and coffee was a nice touch, especially if you were having a late breakfast.

If you go into the hot springs make sure you drink as soon as you come out otherwise you may feel a bit queer.

In summary Sands River is a great place difficult to sum up in words - much more effective than wrinkle cream!!!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Pole Pole

Pole Pole

"So slow almost stopped!"

4 nights Arrived 25 Aug 2009
"A very relaxing location great views of the sea, lush gardens and a pleasant breeze which reduced the heat and humidity. Nice little beach amongst the mangroves with umbrellas and loungers. Short walk along the beach to the boat for snorkelling and picnic trips. Sailing on the dow at sunset was amazing and the simplicity of these traditional boats brilliant. Great massage - slowed down even more.

Walk to Utende village was interesting - the children are very interested in visitors, especially as they bring goodies, in our case mini highlighter pens and other guests had handed out balloons. You end up like the Pied Piper. The trip to Chole Island is good to see old slave trading ruins, fruit bats hanging in the trees waiting for dusk when they fly in their thousands to Mafia, the fruit and vegetables, village homes and buildings and finally the traditional dow building. The children like to have their photos taken and then see themselves in the camera screen - some are quite adept at posing - you need to keep covered as the people of Chole are muslim.

A little disappointed that there weren't the numbers to do a trip that we wanted to do - but as it was a relaxing end to our holiday it didn't really matter.

Definitely very slowly, slowly at Pole Pole."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Serena Hotel Dar

Serena Hotel Dar

"Royal Palm Hotel review"

1 night Arrived 29 Aug 2009
"All you would expect of an international hotel and quite a culture shock after the bush, the beach and Dar es Salaam outside.

Beware of poor rate of exchange if settling your bill in dollars or credit card. Restaurant prices are in Tanzanian shillings. Good room service breakfast as we had an early flight and were too early for restaurant breakfast."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent

Wonderful holiday

Namibia between 8 Aug 2007 and 24 Aug 2007

Trip rating: Excellent
"It was a fabulous holiday Namibia can offer such a variety of experiences and scenery that you can't help but be impressed. The people were lovely and the weather just right not too hot but sunny almost all of the time. I would have no hesitation in recommending Namibia or Expert Africa to anyone.

We would like to add here some comments about our activities in Swakomund as they were independant from Sam's Giardino and deserve a mention.

The Sandwich Harbour trip was great - run by Turnstone Tours - we paddled in the pools on the beach amongst the flamingoes, pelicans and damarland terns etc the birdlife was stunning, the drive through the dunes was exillerating and the lunch delicious - Namibians are very good at picnics.

The "Little 5" trip was equally good it was amazing to see so much wildlife in the desert - Chris our guide was very entertaining and probably mad! Namibia also seems to bred some eccentrics!

We had a lovely meal at The Tug three courses and wine for thirty pounds!!

However, there has to be a few buts !

We didn't feel that the Toyota Corolla was really man enough for Namibian roads, the exhaust sounded pretty dodgy on occasions and part of the bumper fell out - a vehicle that was higher would be better.

Although we survived to tell the tale, we felt on hindsight that we should have had a satellite phone, our mobiles didn't work every where. A german couple we came across with a damaged sump would have been in trouble if an Italian family with a satelite phone hadn't turned up and helped them - we think it may be something you should recommend.

Fish River Canyon was pleasant, but it could have been missed out of the trip and another day in Swakopmund would have meant we could have done the boat trip from Walvis Bay too - fellow travellers raved about it. We also suspect the flights too and from the canyon added quite a lot to the price of the trip. Despite these little grips it was still great."

Arranged By Sabina Hekandjo


Okonjima Bush Camp

Okonjima Bush Camp

"Amazing hot water bottles!!"

2 nights Arrived 9 Aug 2007
"All the aspects of Okonjima Bush Camp were great, accommodation, food, lapa and welcome from June. The activities were very interesting and we managed to track down the leopards and cheetahs. The guides were knowledgeable and friendly - Albert even managed to find us an Aardvark.

We liked feeding and watching the birds the greatest variety on the whole trip. Although the evenings/nights were cold our bed was kept warm by amazing hot water bottles which didn't go cold"
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Okaukuejo Camp

Okaukuejo Camp

"There's an elephant outside the room!"

3 nights Arrived 11 Aug 2007
"The opportunity to watch the wildlife at the water hole at the bottom of the garden both day and night was amazing. I couldn't believe that there was an elephant about 20 metres from our front door when we first arrived. We hoped to see lions at night, so we set the alarm and went out to the waterhole at 1.00 a.m. we were rewarded by seeing 18 giraffe drinking and we waited patiently for over an hour but the lions never appeared.

The room was excellent, we liked the design, interior finish and landscaping. We liked to be able to sit outside in the mornings for breakfast and watch the birds and animals. The swimming pool was good.

As the restaurant was being re-built when we were there it was difficult to know what the food would be like normally. During the period we were there the restaurant was housed in a marquee, with plastic tables and chairs and the food on offer was mediocre - although we did manage quite a good chicken and chips! one night.

We appreciate that it would be difficult to have fresh food in the shop, but even so the stock in the shop was very limited - their fridges were empty and the groceries were also in short supply with very little choice - we didn't want Tescos but felt there could have been more on offer - especially as there is nowhere else to go for supplies.

The reception staff seemed overwhelmed when a lot of people arrived at once, and didn't seem to have quite caught up with the new buildings - directions to our room were not very clear.

We felt that the restaurant, shop and reception didn't really match the standard of the location and rooms. It will probably be much better when its finished."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Average
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Poor
Mowani Mountain Camp

Mowani Mountain Camp

"Watch out for football mad waiters!!"

2 nights Arrived 14 Aug 2007
"We received a very warm welcome at Mowani, after a rather tiresome trip - the road from Khoriaxas was probably the worst of the holiday. The camp was well camoflagued amongst the boulders but very tastefully decorated and with a lovely views, we got an upgrade to the excellent luxury villa which was great.

Some how we got onto the subject of football with our waiter Hennie, who kept us abreast of the latest football news via the satelitte TV in the staff accommodation and we had some good hearted banter with him and his fellow waiters about the merits of various teams and players, at the same time as they provided us with excellent food and service.

The viewpoint for the sunset was great with the bar and nibbles, it was also a lovely location for watching the stars.

We had a good trip tracking the desert elephants, which also gave us the opportunity to see more of the Damaraland landscapes with the wonderful pink mountains - elephant tracks and poo were everywhere but we finally found a large group of females and youngsters, including a 4 week old baby, at the waterhole, having first found a lone male having a sun bathe, we watched and followed the group for ages which was great. Frederick was an excellent driver and knowledgable guide who made the trip very enjoyable.

It would have been nice to stay longer - but we went on our way with a packed lunch which again contained excellent food and even included a minature bottle of vodka - we resisted drinking it - you need to be in control on Nambian roads !! and have kept it as a momento of Mowani Camp.

The trip and road to Swakomund was much better and less daunting than we had anticipated and we were able to visit the Cape Cross seals and enjoy our packed lunch whilst watching their antics."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Sam's Giardino

Sam's Giardino

"Great place for wine lovers."

3 nights Arrived 16 Aug 2007
"Sam's Giardino provides and good base for exploring Swakomund and the surrounding area because, the reception staff were helpful in arranging bookings for us on two excellent trips, one to Sandwich Harbour and the other the "Little 5" dune tour, which included pickup and delivery from and to Sam's and filled both of the days we were in Swakomund.

Sam's wine tasting was a very pleasant way of spending the early evening before dinner, and after dinner we enjoyed browsing through Sam's large collection of Namibian travel books in the lounge. The garden was pleasant but unfortunately, there was a lot of sea fog and we were unable to take advantage of it and the garden furniture.

We enjoyed the food and wine."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Average
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
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Kulala Wilderness Camp, Namibia (this camp has since closed)

"The smallest room had a great view!"

2 nights Arrived 19 Aug 2007
"After a spectacular flight with Scenic Air from Swakomund we were grateful that we weren't abandoned to the wilderness but were greeted by our friendly guide and driver Jonathan, who we accompanied for the next two days.

We had a wonderful view from our tent, and especially whilst seated on the loo - no frosted glass needed at Kulala there's not a lot about to invade your privacy. Wide open plans with mountains in the background - felt that there should have been some wilderbeasts but I guess it is too dry for them.

Jonathan took us up into the mountains for a great sunset and some equally good gin and tonics, and spent some time chatting to us about Namibian life. Dinner was taken on the verandah overlooking the wilderness and the stars around a large family table, enabling chat with all sorts of people from all around the world. We attempted to sleep on the roof to star gaze but unfortunately beaten back inside by the buzzing of the mosquitos.

At 4.30 a.m. were we up and off to Soussvlei after breakfast, first watching 4 giant ballons take off at sunrise. The sunrise was beautiful and the sand dune scenery stunning. The walk up "big daddy" dune was great although we didn't quite make it to the top. I am very grateful to Jonathan for keeping me going, his patience and encouragement got me much further than I would have managed on my own - what he didn't tell us until too late was that you need sand proof knickers 'cos the only way down a sand dune usually entails use of your bum!

We descended into deadvlei where the colours are spectacular. This wonderful trip was topped off by a delicious brunch served with great efficiency by Jonathan. There was a great spread including marmite! however we failed to convert any of our French companions or Jonathan to become fans of it. We returned to Kulala and enjoyed an afternoon relaxing in and around the pool.

Another early start and this time it was us up in the ballons at sunrise. It was a brilliant experience, with wonderful views from 1200m over the Kulala area, the mountains and the dunes and the other ballons. After a very expert landing on the back of trailer, with the aid of a group of friendly locals, we had a champagne breakfast to finish it off. Great."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Canyon Lodge

Canyon Lodge

"You might be in the Wild West!"

2 nights Arrived 21 Aug 2007
"After another spectacular flight when we flew over the Fish River Canyon, with its amazing shapes and rock formations we arrived at Canyon Lodge, with our pilot Elsa who did a great job, to see the rusty Ford pickup in front of the old farmhouse that made you think that John Wayne would appear at any time. The old farm equipment including the pickup made a fascinating setting for a very unusual garden, the water features attracted lots of different and colourful birds.

The bungalows were very good, comfortable with good views and outside seating areas where we could make the most of the sun and watch the wildlife in the rocks. It was nice to have paved paths and lighting at night. The rock lighting was superb.

Fritz our guide and driver was very well informed and passionate about Canyon Lodge and the surrounding area, he took us on a very interesting sundowner drive, explaining about the landscape, wildlife and plants and helped us take some great sunset photos.

We enjoyed great homemade cheese and salami with our g & ts, made from the produce of the Canyon Lodge farm - we later had a tour of the farm and meet the staff who looked after the cows, pigs and chickens and grew the vegetables - quite an operation. The food was excellent and all the more enjoyable because we knew it was mostly home grown and hadn't had to come miles by truck or plane.

The canyon was aWesome (not an American aesome!) the scale is difficult to comprehend and even more difficult to capture on camera, yet again very different from the other scenery in Namibia.

The swimming pool was good with plenty of loungers, towels and a honesty bar - pity the weather wasn't a bit warmer but it was the middle of winter!! All in all a relaxing place to end our holiday."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

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