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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs C from WestBridg

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

5

Excursions taken

0

Brilliant short-ish winter sun trip to SA

South Africa between 22 Nov 2017 and 5 Dec 2017

Trip rating: Excellent
"This is the second time we have travelled with Expert Africa after our honeymoon in 2013, and on both occasions they have been superb (we never got round to doing the feedback on that first trip - sorry....).

Claire was very efficient and super-helpful with advice in response to our requests in terms of dates and locations, and her advice in terms of re-balancing the number of days we spent in different parts of the country proved to be spot-on.

Remote support for when things went slightly wrong - when our flight to Cape Town was very delayed - was great: on contacting Expert Africa, they were immediately able to re-schedule our transfer from the airport to our hotel.

South Africa - the second time we have visited, although the first was very briefly in a very wet August - was fantastic. At no point did we have any security concerns; the roads, admittedly generally between major population centres, were excellent; and the holiday experience itself was straightforward and relaxing, whilst encompassing some wonderfully special moments that will always live with us.

We now find ourselves as an informal local branch of the SA Tourist Board, so much do we rave about the country to friends and family!

Overall experience; trip as a whole:

You were superb - I can't really think of anything.

Thank you so much, and especially to Claire for making it all possible.

Happy New Year!"

Arranged By Claire Scott


The Constantia

The Constantia

"Brilliant stay at The Constantia"

3 nights Arrived 23 Nov 2017
"Our stay at The Constantia set the bar incredibly high for the rest of our trip.

Firstly, and most importantly, all the staff we met (management, restaurant and room) were absolutely wonderful - hugely friendly, super-helpful and very genuine. It seemed as though all of them really enjoyed working in the hotel, which makes such a difference. They were attentive and thoughtful throughout our stay, especially so for Clare, given her pregnancy. They were also very good at reserving restaurant tables for us, and giving advice/help with booking attractions (Table Mountain Cableway, Robben Island, etc.). As an example, on our first morning, when the representative came to deliver our hire car, the reception manager not only offered me a coffee whilst we sorted out the paperwork, but offered exactly the same to the car hire employee - not necessary, but a touch that shows the generosity of spirit we experienced from all the staff at The Constantia.

The property is a delight - excellently maintained, and with gorgeous gardens and a nice, small pool (if chilly in late November!). The location was just right for us also - out of the main bustle of Cape Town, but in a very good location for getting into the heart of the city; down to Cape Point, etc.; and of course to the Constantia wineries just down the road. We feel sure that the hotel must have given us an upgrade to their best room, since our accommodation was outstanding - a huge space with lounge area and balcony overlooking the garden, and a splendid his'n'hers bathroom. The extra items in the room (nibbles, cookies, fruit, drinks) were great - a lovely additional touch.

We didn't have one of the light lunches on offer at The Constantia, so cannot comment on that, but breakfast almost obviated the need for lunch! The selection of tropical fruit, pastries, juices, etc., and the optional items on the hot menu, were delicious and almost never-ending. The French Toast will go down in our family history as a seminal breakfast.

Overall, just superb. Thank you so much!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
The Last Word Franschhoek

The Last Word Franschhoek

"Good stay at The Last Word Franschhoek."

1 night Arrived 26 Nov 2017
"If we had not just stayed at The Constantia, sister hotel of The Last Word Franschhoek, and had an outstanding stay there, we may have given them a slightly higher review. In general, The Last Word Franschhoek was very good, but suffered a bit by comparison.

The staff were very pleasant and helpful, but we felt that Franklin, the manager, who's obviously an extrovert personality, would benefit from trying a bit less hard.

The room was very comfortable, with many of the same touches (drinks and snacks, etc.) as at The Constantia, and a good bathroom and mini-seating area outside.

The hotel's location, right in the centre of the town, but still with a secluded feel to it, was great - we strolled along Franschhoek's main drag right from the hotel front door, without having to think at all about getting in the car. Breakfast was also good, although - again - not at the same stellar level as The Constantia."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Harbour House Hotel

Harbour House Hotel

"Good brief stay at Harbour House Hotel"

1 night Arrived 27 Nov 2017
"We only stayed one night at Harbour House Hotel, arriving from Cape Town quite late in the evening, and heading off straight after breakfast. Staff were OK - when we arrived, there was some unnecessary fussing about having to get our passports from the car, booking in, etc., and only then being shown to our space in the hotel's underground car park, and dealing with our luggage.

Our room was pleasant and spacious. We did not use the kitchenette, which perhaps seemed a touch incongruous, but it could have been useful if we had stayed for longer. Breakfast was good, although again the staff were slightly variable in their friendliness.

Perhaps the main plus for Harbour House is its location, which is superb for whale watching (we were just too late in the season to take advantage of this). The small gardens with loungers and pools also looked enticing, had we not been heading off early."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Average
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Hunters Country House

Hunters Country House

"Lovely stay at Hunters Country House"

3 nights Arrived 28 Nov 2017
"A lovely, characterful hotel in beautiful grounds, and with vey good and helpful staff. Very good location just outside stunning Plettenberg Bay, with its great beaches and good food and shopping.

The room was very pleasant, although possibly a bit snug, and we always had to remember the small step down into the bathroom - I bet they have an unusually high incidence of sprained ankles amongst guests! One small touch that could do with addressing by the hotel is the fit of the room doors - whilst it was lovely to come back after dinner to a turned down bed, also with delicious sweet nibbles on our bedside tables, the gap at the bottom of the room door was exploited by the local insect life, who were attracted by the bedside lights and resulted in a ten-minute game of "hunt and remove the bug" every evening! But these are minor points really in an otherwise delightful stay.

The grounds are superb, and the pool and lounger area, plus covered lounge with fireplace and armchairs, wonderful for spending a relaxing day, waited on by the helpful staff. It's also worth hunting out the tiny Chapel in the Woods, five minutes' walk from the hotel, which is a beautiful oasis of holy peace.

We ate in the Hotel on one evening of our stay, which was very pleasant in a slightly 'colonial' way, but on the other two nights dined at Zinzi, a short walk away across the Hotel grounds. This was altogether different, with a much more modern feel (think silver-sprayed kudu horns adorning the walls!) and an excellent, creative menu and wine list. the food was top-notch on both occasions, although on the second evening service did not reach the heights of our first dinner.

Overall, we thoroughly recommend Hunters as a relaxing stop-off between Cape Town and environs, and the game parks to the north of Port Elizabeth."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
River Bend Lodge

River Bend Lodge

"Great stay at River Bend Lodge"

3 nights Arrived 1 Dec 2017
"We loved our three days at River Bend Lodge, which we'd chosen for it's malaria-free location since Clare was pregnant at the time of our stay. It was our third game lodge experience after two stays in Botswana, and is clearly much less wild than there. That said, after a time, the power lines that run adjacent to the property and the road and ran links that run along its edge, rather fade into the background other than when you are taking a photo of wildlife and don't want a backdrop of a pylon!

The accommodation was very spacious, including the biggest bed either of us has ever slept in! Furnishings are slightly colonial-style and comfortable, although the bathroom in particular was starting to look a bit tired. The rooms are in small lodges set within a pretty and well-tended garden, with the main lodge a very short walk away. The dining area is both indoor and outdoor, with the outdoor tables giving onto a small grassed area and then directly onto the game park, from which it is protected by a relatively inconspicuous electric fence. This means that - as happened on all three of our mornings at the Lodge - you can have the privilege of eating your breakfast with a herd of fifty elephants also breakfasting on the surrounding vegetation within no more than a hundred feet of you: an amazing experience! We were apparently outstandingly fortunate for this to happen every day that we were there - it does happen fairly often, but is far from guaranteed.

Food was very good, with an extensive breakfast, plentiful light lunch options and well-cooked dinners, accompanied by a good wine selection included in the per diem rate, and plenty of more expensive bottles too. Service was very good, especially from the charming and ever-smiling Moses, who looked after us charmingly.

From a guiding perspective, we were looked after throughout our stay by the effervescent Simpiwe, who was a relatively new addition to the staff. He admitted that he needed to do some additional study on all the birds that we saw, some of which he was unable to identify, but as far as the larger fauna were concerned, he guided us expertly and with great humour. River Bend was relatively empty during our stay, so the guides were very happy to flex some of the game drive timings, organising a night drive instead of an evening safari for us, which was an excellent additional dimension to our stay. In terms of wildlife variety, there was less variation than we have seen in Botswana in the past, but the elephants are of course the highlight. We also saw plenty of other large fauna, some distinctly rare, and much of which was at exceptionally close quarters given the nature of River Bend's terrain and vegetation.

The Lodge was well-run, although Adrian the manager (similar to our experience with the manager at The Last Word Franschhoek) tried a bit too hard at times. His language was a bit too hyperbolic - although that's maybe just our English sensibilities! Clare also took advantage of one of the pregnancy massages that River Bend offers as an extra, and raved about how good it was.

Overall, a very good stay indeed, within a very easy drive of Port Elizabeth, and I imagine that River Bend Lodge would be great for families with its friendliness, accessibility and lack of malaria. Thank you!"
Good
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Good

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