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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr Z from USA

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

3

Lodges stayed in

7

Excursions taken

1

Zigler's 45th Anniversary Safari

Botswana and 2 other countries between 15 May 2014 and 26 May 2014

Trip rating: Excellent
"A great once in a lifetime trip. Far exceeded our expectations.

Thank you very much Maruska for putting it all together and your patience in answering our never ending questions.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

Recommend that:
- travelers be forewarned about the transfer between Zambia and the Kasane airport.
- travelers mark their battery chargers with highly visible markings so that they are not confused with other charges in a central charging station.

The trip turned out to be fantastic and would highly recommend the use of Expert Safaris for planning and organizing a safari in Botswana."

Feedback response

Recommend that:
- travelers be forewarned about the transfer between Zambia and the Kasane airport.
- travelers mark their battery chargers with highly visible markings so that they are not confused with other charges in a central charging station.

The trip turned out to be fantastic and would highly recommend the use of Expert Safaris for planning and organizing a safari in Botswana.

Arranged By Maruska Adye-Rowe


City Lodge OR Tambo

City Lodge OR Tambo

"City Lodge"

1 night Arrived 15 May 2014
"Very convenient to airport. Good rooms with good air conditioner. Average dinner with very small selection. Great breakfast buffet."
Good
Location
Excellent
Food
Good
Rooms
Good
Facilities
Good
Avani Victoria Falls

Avani Victoria Falls

"Zambezi Sun"

2 nights Arrived 16 May 2014
"Very convenient to Vic Falls. Good reasonably priced dinner; Greet breakfast buffet. Decent sized rooms with good air conditioner. Great shower with plenty of hot water. We received an invitation to the high tea at the Livingstone Hotel and it was very upscale with excellent finger food and a great "Safari" tea. We went on the Livingston Express dinner train - a great experience with a sundowner when we stopped half way on the bridge looking over Vic Falls - excellent 5 course diner.

The next morning there was a lot of confusion as to when we should leave for the Kasane airport - the afternoon before some said 10AM, then it was 11:30AM and finally we were told at 7:30 AM on the day we should leave that it was at 8AM!!! Fortunately we had breakfast at 7AM so we hurried up and packed quickly. The transfer is quite complicated: you are driven for about 1 hour to the crossing point on the Zambezi river. As you approach the river there are huge lines of trucks - about 200 of them lined up against the road awaiting crossing the river. The driver then escorted us to Zambia customs where our passports were stamped.

Then we went to the river bank and awaited the "launch" - an aluminum boat about 30 ft long powered by an outboard. The launch was full of safari travelers and came to a halt at the shore in between the loading docks of the truck ferries. Passengers and bags scrabbled out of the launch and we went on board. The bus driver gave the launch a push and off we went for the short 10 minute crossing. On the Botswana side there was an actual dock where we tied up unloaded bags. We were escorted though Botswana customs and then boarded a safari jeep for the 20 minute ride to the airport. As on the Zambia side there was a long line of about 200 trucks awaiting crossing the river. The driver informed us that it was customary for the truck drivers to wait for 7 to 10 days to cross the river.

The entire process of getting from the hotel to the Kasane airport was a very interesting 2 hour experience!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Fishing on the Zambezi River

Fishing on the Zambezi River

"Fishing on the Zambezi"

17 May 2014 • Afternoon excursion

River was very full making fishing poor. we shared the boat with two other anglers - 4 is too many for a small boat trying to cast. In the end my wife opted to let the guys do the fishing and just enjoy the scenery.

Total for the day were 3 hits and one that was hooked and lost when the fish jumped. Great boat ride - we saw lots of crocs and hippos.
Good
Lebala Camp

Lebala Camp

"Lebala"

2 nights Arrived 18 May 2014
"We departed Kesane airport on a 13 passenger Cessna Grand Caravan for the 45 minute flight to Lebela. Lebala and its sister camp, Lagoon, are very well run by Kwando Safaris. Lebala looks over a grass field with a small creek running in front of the camp. Our Guide Paul and tracker Oti were incredibly good - we asked that we keep Paul and Oti for Lagoon and our wish was granted. Without a doubt the days at Lebala and Lagoon were the best of our 4 camp trip (the other two being Wilderness Safari's Kwetsani and Chitabe Lediba camps).

At the Lebala camp we had a hippo close by our "tent" that snorted periodically during the night. On the first outing in the arrival afternoon Paul and Oti spotted leopard tracks and shortly thereafter we spotted a female attempting to get the interest of a male. We spent the next hour observing the two of them including a fling on a large tree. Oti then spotted another leopard on a tree munching away at an impala that had been hoisted up the tree to keep it away from hyenas - there was a hyena at the bottom of the tree anxiously awaiting a morsel. The sundowners were perfect with our preferred drinks and great nibbles.

The next morning Oti spotted wild dog tracks and we were off to find them. After about 1/2 hour we came upon the 8 dog pack having laid down for the day. We observed for some time and Paul called in the other jeeps. In the afternoon Oti spotted lioness tracks and shortly thereafter we found two lionesses lounging after a full meal. Paul then proceeded to discuss their habits and how they were part of a pride that roamed the area. Paul then took us to see elephants, zebras, and scores of other animals. The meals at Lebala were good homemade fares with plenty of South African wines.

The next morning we loaded up our bags and proceeded for the transfer to Lagoon by safari jeep. A few minutes into the ride there was a lot of exited talk on the radio and Paul let us know they spotted two lionesses and three cubs chasing warthogs. We went where they were and saw the two cubs attempting to catch a couple of warthogs and missing them. One of the lionesses did catch one warthog and all four proceeded to much on the morning catch. We then proceeded to Lagoon camp."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Lagoon Camp

Lagoon Camp

"Lagoon Camp"

2 nights Arrived 20 May 2014
"The "tents" at Lagoon overlook an arm of a river - a most beautiful view! That afternoon we boarded a two story pontoon boat and meandered down the arm looking at hippos galore - it was just magical seeing the beautiful sundown sipping a favorite beverage while surrounded by hippos snorting away in the water. The view from the top deck was spectacular and allowed us to see a lot of wildlife.

Next morning Paul rounded us up and off we went - the chatter on the radio was that the dog pack that was a Lebala had traveled overnight to the grounds around Lagoon! So we observed the pack on a hunt for about 30 minutes as the dogs jogged looking for prey. We then left the pack and joined another jeep that had spotted lion tracks. Oti jumped out of the jeep and joined the other tracker with lots of discussion on the direction and the types of lions. Paul looked around and decided to loop around and behold we found two lioness, two cubs and a large male lion - a most remarkable sight! We proceeded back to camp and had our brunch and what had become the norm for our afternoon - siesta/reading.

The PM drive started with looking at a herd of wildebeests. We then went over to a double lagoon/watering hole and encountered a large group of marabou storks all gathered in a shrinking pool. We heard some noises and looked over to see five hippos lumbering between the two large lagoons & they went into the water and kept going until submerged. Oti then spotted fresh lion tracks and shortly we came across Blondie, a beautiful young male lion whose fur was significantly lighter in color than the other we saw earlier. We observed Blondie for some time and proceeded to go to our last sundowner with Paul and Oti. On the night drive Oti spotted a porcupine crossing the trail and we stopped to watch it. Oti also spotted several owls on our night drives. The next morning we had a short game drive and went directly to the airport for our flight to the next camp: Kwetsani.

We bid fond farewell to Paul and Oti who had treated us so well during our stay at Lebala and Lagoon."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kwetsani Camp

Kwetsani Camp

"Kwetsani"

2 nights Arrived 22 May 2014
"At Lebala and Lagoon other travelers told us that Kwetsani was a highly regarded camp of the African Safari group. Our assigned guide, Moyo, greeted us at the airport & trackers were not used at Lebala. We had a 45-minute boat ride to camp through walls of papyrus and bulrushes. We had chosen Kwetsani because the tents were in the trees & the tents were gorgeous and high above the ground.

When we arrived there was a group of ladies singing a greeting song and the South African couple, the relief managers, running the camp met us. We walked into the main area and it was indeed upscale compared to Lebala and Lagoon. During high tea a couple of ladies had laid out woven baskets and were weaving. The singing and the basket weavers gave me the initial impression that this was going to be a more 'staged' experience. The afternoon was spent on a boat ride around the camp looking for hippos. We 'found' a family of hippos just in time for our sundowner. For dinner the featured dish was leg of lamb that turned out to be very tough and most were left on the plate.

The next morning Moyo took us for the boat ride to Hunda Island for an 'all day' safari. The boat motor had its problems and quit several times when full throttle was applied & we limped to the island at low speed. We loaded onto the jeep and when our guide attempted to start it the starter would not turn over the motor. Moyo, with his trusty leatherman was able to jiggle the terminals and succeeded in starting the motor. The drive was interesting, fording a lot of creeks with the water level up to the running boards. We saw elephants, zebras, and the ever-present impalas. The guide handed us a map of the island showing the trails, each of one with a name like "elephant trail". We stayed on the trails and at lunchtime we joined another group and had a nice lunch on a raised platform overlooking the flooded plain. We did another hour of riding the trails of Hunda Island seeing some more birds, giraffes, zebras, and elephants. We returned on a different boat whose motor operated normally.

Upon arrival at our tent I noticed that they had not lifted the evening wind curtains as in Lebala and Lagoon and the tent was very hot & 95F on my thermometer. I went outside and lifted two smaller wind curtains & the two larger ones were too much form one person to handle. I turned on the fan and was able to ventilate the tent. I then decided to take a shower on the outdoor shower to cool down & it was a double outdoor shower. When I turned on one of the showers water gushed from a coupling on the pipe & I shut it off and transferred to the other shower. Dinner was grilled meat and was taken outside & the steak was excellent and the wines good.

When we returned to our tent we were greeted by a surprise & they had a bottle of chilled South African bubbly wine on the outside small table with a note congratulating us on our 45th anniversary & they also had sprinkled paper hearts around the table. We sat outside and sipped the bubbly looking out on the flooded plain. We went into our tent and I noted that the evening turndown had not lowered the wind shades so I went out and lowered them & a good measure since the wind blew strong late that night.

The next morning we slept in since we were scheduled for a mokoro ride. This ride turned out to be a 45-minute ride in front of the camp - sufficient to get the mokoro experience. We embarked on a boat that took us to the airport area where we transferred to a jeep. Our guide parked us under a shaded enclosure to wait for the plane. The plane landed and when the guide tried to start the jeep it would not start. All of us broke out in laughter when Moyo motioned to another jeep to come over and linked us to the other jeep with a towrope! Fortunately the guide was able to jump start the engine after we got towed and we arrived at the waiting plane shortly thereafter.

Although Kwetsani had a more staged feel and we had some equipment issues the staff was always pleasant and accommodating."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Average
Activities
Average
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Average
Facilities
Excellent
Chitabe Lediba

Chitabe Lediba

"Lediba"

2 nights Arrived 24 May 2014
"After a short flight we landed at the Chitabe airstrip where our guide, OD, greeted us and drove us to the lodge. OD was a very congenial person with a huge in depth knowledge of the animals and fauna of the area. He was constantly on the look out for tracks on the trails and always scanning the surroundings for signs of animals. The manager, a heavy-set jovial Botwanian with an ever-present grin, greeted us at the camp.

Our 'tents' looked into the brush and were large and very confortable. We spent most of our drives looking for the Cheetah that had been spotted the morning we arrived. During our drives we saw tsessebe, impala, jackal, a variety of birds and a large baboon tribe feeding on the palm nuts and the amarula fruit. During the night time drives Ode spotted a bush baby, a small monkey with huge eyes, and a genet, a cat like mammal with a small head, a catlike body, and a large puffy tail. He also spotted a couple of mongoose.

The animal life at Lediba appeared to be less dense than that a Lebala and Lagoon. The staff at Lediba bent over backwards to make our stay memorable. The wind curtains were all drawn during the day and replaced for the night and all equipment worked. The food was simple but very tasty & the cook had an excellent way with the condiments. At the end of the last dinner, the jovial manager brought out a bottle of South African bubbly and toasted us on our 45th anniversary - a nice touch.

Lediba will be remembered as the place where the Cheetah was not found, the excellent guide Ode, the jovial manager, and the 'over the top'friendly professional staff."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
City Lodge OR Tambo

City Lodge OR Tambo

"City Lodge"

1 night Arrived 26 May 2014
"See previous comments."
Good

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