Travel reviews by Two Travellers from UK
Total number of trips
Lodges stayed in
My Aug 2022 trip
Zambia between 20 Aug 2022 and 4 Sep 2022
In the end (given the time we had available) we really loved the structure and scheduling of the trip and it was particularly special to be able to visit all the Remote Africa camps. The walking at Chikoko, Big Lagoon and Mwaleshi was totally immersive and engrossing, allowing us to see and hear things we never would have done from a vehicle, and when paired with the full on game driving at Old Mondoro, it made for a fantastic holiday.
We found we especially liked being able to walk from camp to camp - and if visiting again, would definitely put in an advance request to do so between Mwaleshi and Takwela, which by good fortune happened to be possible on this occasion without us having pre-planned it. And if Remote Africa were ever to think about opening a third bush camp in North Luangwa, we can only imagine how lovely it would be to do a walking circuit between the camps in that area.
Very many thanks to Claire for putting together such an amazing trip and also for all her good advice on flight options, in terms of both getting to and getting about Zambia."
"Latitude 15 review"
The chalets were comfortable, large and immaculately designed without being flashily luxurious and the food was varied and delicious. It was also great to meet the charming Jen and Nick once again, now managing the camp, and we were particularly grateful for their help in looking after luggage items which we did not need for the next stage of our trip at the walking camps.
The weather was a bit temperamental during our stay - there were even a few spots of rain on our first night - and this may have explained the slight elusiveness of some of the game, but Lloyd was an excellent guide and we really enjoyed our drives with him."
Chikoko Tree Camp
"Chikoko Tree Camp review"
Even though we were only with Amon for a short time while we walked from Tafika to Chikoko we learned a huge amount from him, as we also did from Stephen who we joined at Chikoko and then continued on with to Big Lagoon.
A highlight was a wonderful and prolonged sighting of a honey badger as we made our way between Chikoko and Big Lagoon, which was very special indeed."
Big Lagoon Camp
"Crocodile Bushcamp review"
We were sorry never to have visited Crocodile camp, the site of which we passed just as we approached its successor, Big Lagoon. But the new location is absolutely stunning, looking out as it does onto the lagoon with a wonderful sitenji bar area complete with magnificent deck, and we could definitely see how - certainly as the season progressed - one could almost make a day of sitting there watching the comings and goings.
Clever use is made of the existing infrastructure from the camp previously on this spot, and the floor of our chalet had recently been upgraded but there is nevertheless still an intimate bush camp vibe which we loved. And we very much enjoyed walking on from Chikoko with Stephen, the wonderful guide we had previously met at Mwaleshi in 2019."
"Mwaleshi Camp review"
Mwaleshi is simple, rustic, tiny and completely magical. Its location right on the river bank and its feeling of immersion in the bush, not to mention the food, are part of its charm but best of all was the guiding. We were lucky enough this time to have Brent, who we missed on our previous visit, as our guide, and his knowledge, thoughtfulness and ability to explain were true gifts.
A particular highlight was the morning we spent on foot tracking and eventually finding elusive lions, and we were especially impressed by the mutual understanding and collaboration between Brent, Kennedy (himself a superb guide in the making) and David (our National Park Scout) as the whole enthralling process unfolded."
"Takwela Camp review"
It was lovely to meet the manager, the delightful Alex, although much of his time while we were there was monopolised by a large family group. This actually worked to our advantage as it meant that we in turn had our excellent guide Moffat to ourselves, but underlines I think that as Takwela takes off, more than one permanent guide may be necessary there.
We were able to do both walking and game driving at Takwela and although the game was a little on the shy side - a legacy, I think, of hunting in the area - we loved the camp's sense of remoteness and exclusivity which made for a really special experience."
Old Mondoro Bushcamp
"Old Mondoro Bushcamp review"
Coupled with the fantastic location of the camp right on the river, accessed through an atmospheric winterthorn grove, the highlight of our stay this time round was the truly fantastic sightings of the large wild dog pack denning in the area. These were completely enthralling and exhilarating, plus at times (the kill) appalling, but we could not get enough of them and so were happy to stick to game drives rather than do other activities during our stay.
We were lucky to have Marshal as our skilful and empathetic guide, and it was also great to see Samora once again, now a qualified guide, and to meet Juliette, the Chiawa manager covering for Madelein and Mark when they went on some well earned leave.
The only downside was the number of other vehicles sometimes present in the area; as well as a film crew and their jeeps (complete with drone) many vehicles seemed to be coming in from other camps quite a distance away to see the dogs, and while the film crew were shortly to be leaving, the excessive numbers of other vehicles is perhaps something which Old Mondoro needs to try to tackle."
My February 2020 trip
Kenya between 1 Feb 2020 and 10 Feb 2020
A couple of our drives were impacted by some quite heavy rain but we were never not able to go out, and overall we felt - in large part thanks to our very determined guides - that our sightings were probably pretty much what we might have hoped for had the weather conformed more to the norm for the time of year.
In addition, we absolutely loved both camps, which really hit the mark for us in terms of their combination of comfort without over-the-top luxury, fantastic guiding, and excellent (but not excessively busy) locations. Many thanks to Richard (initially) and Olivia for recommending them to us."
Crowne Plaza Nairobi Airport
"Crowne Plaza review"
"Offbeat Mara review"
Much of this was down to the wonderful manager Jennifer, who was always cheerful and unflustered, notwithstanding what must have been some tricky behind the scenes juggling caused by the difficulty for jeeps and supply vehicles getting about in the extremely wet and muddy conditions. The food was delicious and hot and cold water for showering and washing was always on hand (although the shower itself was perhaps slightly on the feeble side, even allowing for the idiosyncrasies of bucket showers).
Most importantly, we managed good cat and other sightings (including birds) with our excellent guide Stanley, and very much enjoyed seeing large numbers of topi and other grazers tucking in to the lush grass in the open landscape of Mara North - which we found quite a contrast to the other, more densely thicketed, conservancies we have visited. It was also very nice to have a vehicle to ourselves during the course of our stay."
"Tangulia Mara review"
It was a delight to be hosted by the charismatic and charming Jackson, and our guide Benjamin was a font of insight and persistence in getting us good sightings - including a distant black rhino. He was also an excellent driver, which we very much appreciated given the challenges thrown up by the muddy conditions and raised water levels - although it was astonishing how quickly these improved with a bit of sunshine on them. Finally, as at Offbeat, it was lovely to have a vehicle to ourselves for the course of our stay."
Zambia between 20 Jul 2019 and 4 Aug 2019
The remoteness we experienced in North Luangwa in particular, and the quality of the guiding plus the lack of other vehicles in all the places we visited, were really very special indeed.
Walking in the bush, particularly with Remote Africa, was both immersive and addictive and coupled with the smaller, rustic nature of the camps we stayed at throughout the holiday has very much whetted our appetites for more!"
"Latitude 15 review"
However service fell a bit short - in particular our room was not ready when we arrived leading to some hanging around while it was prepared, and the breakfast boxes we had requested the next morning were not waiting at the agreed time."
The location right on the river was fantastic and we found the atmosphere wonderfully relaxed and welcoming, due in no small part to the warm and inclusive hosting of Carol and John and the unfailing patience and empathy of the delightful Michele. It was also great to be assigned the family chalet, which seemed perhaps a bit more secluded than some of the other rooms and had the added amazing bonus of having its own hide.
Although we initially anticipated doing some walking at Tafika we actually ended up focusing on game drives, but felt that this was OK given that our other Remote Africa camps focused on walking. That said, and knowing all too well that nothing on safari can ever be guaranteed, we felt that sightings on game drives could be a little 'stop-start' and that a visit perhaps slightly later in the season might have resulted in the game being a bit more concentrated? The sense of exclusivity was very nice however and we barely encountered another vehicle."
Chikoko Tree Camp
The walking was hugely enjoyable - informative and sensibly paced - and although we were unsuccessful in our attempts to see lion, we were thrilled to be compensated by a sighting of a Pel's Fishing Owl, something which has long been on our wishlist."
The setting on the river, the sheer remoteness, and as with Chikoko, the sense of total immersion in the bush was beyond special and something which will stay with us for a very long time. It was a real delight to get to know both our lovely host Heather and our guide Stephen, with whom we had great thrill of seeing lions on foot."
Old Mondoro Bushcamp
"Old Mondoro review"
We had great sightings of leopard and lion on our game drives, when we met barely another vehicle, but just as good were the evening drives after sunset using a filtered spotlight. On one of these - thanks in particular to the sharp eyes of our spotter and trainee guide Samora - we were lucky enough to see an aardvark, something we had never ever thought would happen and which was really a highlight of the whole trip."
Meru and Amboseli trip
Kenya between 2 Feb 2019 and 10 Feb 2019
It was also an interesting change to stay at two camps with non-communal dining which were slightly larger than those we have visited in the past; both were beautifully located and extremely comfortable although as noted we were relieved neither was full to capacity which I think would have given them quite a different vibe."
Crowne Plaza Nairobi Airport
"Crowne Plaza Nairobi airport"
We were expecting to have to look for the Crowne Plaza rep and vehicle ourselves when we came out of the arrivals hall at JKIA, but Douglas actually met us and whistled up a Crowne Plaza car for us - which was of course fine, though I am not sure if this was how it was supposed to work.
The only real issue we had was being assigned a room with a connecting door to the neighbouring room, which was a bit disconcerting. Fortunately the second door was safely locked and as we arrived late we did not query it with Reception. Perhaps all the rooms are like this but if not we would definitely request a room without this feature in future."
We're delighted these travellers had a comfortable stay at the hotel. We're sorry they felt uncomfortable about the interconnecting door in the room. However, this feature is quite common in modern, town or airport hotels to allow families to interconnect.
While it would be fair to say you need to concentrate on game drives to get the most out of them, we were delighted with the game we saw, particularly the 'northern specials' including very many of our favourite reticulated giraffes, plus several lesser kudu which we had not seen before. And it was also great to be able to visit the rhino enclosure where we had several close up white rhino sightings and an excellent if brief sighting of a black rhino mum and baby. We also very much liked the landscape, complete with doum palms and the way in which the hill on which Elsa's is located was such a dominant feature.
But perhaps what made the visit extra special was getting a sense of the strong commitment there has been to restoring the park and to maintaining it as a beacon of conservation, as was evident from things such as the condition of the roads under foot to the presence of KWS/IFAW surveillance planes over head. Many thanks to our guide Anthony who was great.
The camp itself was beautifully and cleverly moulded into the hillside and the accommodation was extremely comfortable though a little bit more clothes hanging and storage space would have been good. The camp seemed to be no more than a maximum of half full during our stay, which suited us fine but I would anticipate that the atmosphere (and number of vehicles departing down and returning up the hill for game drives) would be pretty different during high season when they are much more busy."
Unfortunately Kilimanjaro remained pretty well shrouded in cloud for most of our stay, but it was obvious that the view of it from the camp would have been amazing had it been more visible. As well as having a fantastic location, the camp itself was immaculately maintained and the food excellent, though as with Elsa's I think the atmosphere must inevitably be very different in high season when the camp is full. We very much appreciated the charming and understated hosting of Candy and Graeme, and along with our guide Patrick, wanted to express particular thanks to Jackson who not only looked after us so ably at mealtimes but also led us on a very enjoyable bush walk on the last morning of our stay."
My Aug 2016 trip
Kenya between 27 Aug 2016 and 6 Sep 2016
While the Reserve was obviously busier, the location and quality of the guiding at Rekero were superb and we were really pleased to have included it in the itinerary."
Aero Club of East Africa
"Aero Club of East Africa review"
It was however certainly in a very handy location for our flight from Wilson Airport the following morning, even though at ksh500 the car ride there was a bit more than we'd expected."
"Kicheche Laikipia review"
The tents were very spacious and secluded, though certainly on the chilly side early in the morning and in the evening - the hot water bottles and blankets provided were much required and appreciated. Water flasks were supplied for drinking, tooth cleaning etc and the other non potable water for washing was very brackish (not so great for sensitive skin . . . ).
We found the manager Andy a charming and professional host (unfortunately Sonja was unwell during our visit and we did not get to meet her) and the food almost too plentiful; three courses at lunch as well as at dinner was a bit overwhelming even for us after a day or two! Special thanks however are due to the camp for all the efforts they made with a specific dietary request we had.
Finally we really enjoyed the short game walk we did and in particular our visit to the Northern White Rhino sanctuary which was a very nicely done and educational experience."
Having expected bucket showers and a more bush camp feel we were also very impressed with and pleasantly surprised by the large and pristine Rekero tents and piped hot water set up. From a personal perspective, we much preferred the lighter lunch/more formal dinner approach of Rekero to that of Kicheche Laikipia, and although we were initially wary of the place names at dinner which the camp used (not something we'd encountered before) it actually worked very well.
Finally, Pete and Stacey were delightful hosts; the Askari and staff super friendly; and the setting both of the camp itself and our individual tents (tuned to Hippo-pool TV) great."
Mara Plains Camp
"Mara Plains review"
It was also a great treat to be able (very inexpertly) to have a go at using the high spec camera along with the Swarovski binoculars that the camp made available to us. If pushed, I suppose that the only very small negative about our stay was the slight air of mystery which seemed to apply to meal times, which did tend initially at least to make one feel one had got the wrong end of the stick and had arrived hours too early; the Askari and other staff also seemed slightly more reserved than had been the case at Rekero.
But these are really just comments rather than criticisms, and one thing we appreciated in particular was the camp’s flexibility on meal choices. Above all however we enjoyed meeting the camp’s relief managers Ken and Michelle, who were really fascinating to talk to and both the kindest of hosts."
Botswana and Victoria Falls Aug 2015
Botswana and 1 other country between 15 Aug 2015 and 28 Aug 2015
Arranged By Megan Green
"Little Kwara review"
The camp was perhaps more rustic and simple than Lebala and Xigera, but the accommodation was still perfectly comfortable, and we found the camp's small size and warm management helped give it a friendly and intimate feel. The mixed dry/wet setting was always interesting, though we mainly opted for game drives rather than the water based activities which were available since we knew we wanted to focus on water activities later in our trip at Xigera.
The game viewing at Little Kwara, which included fantastic (and protracted) wild dog and cheetah sightings, was everything we could have hoped for and though we were largely out of luck with the spotlight when we made our way back to camp after sunset, this was a small price to pay!"
"Lebala Camp review"
Jacko and Bowman were endlessly knowledgeable and good humoured, and thanks to their dedication we had some marvellous sightings, which included fascinating lion/lion and lion/buffalo interactions. We were also lucky with night driving at Lebala, managing for example to see an aardwolf and its young as well as a charming baby porcupine.
During our stay we felt that a higher management profile would perhaps have helped the atmosphere gel better particularly over dinner but overall we had a fantastic time at this beautiful and unpretentious camp."
Xigera Safari Lodge
Our guide Dips was unfailingly patient and accommodating of our (extremely amateurish) attempts to photograph at least some of the prolific birdlife we encountered, and thanks to him we were also lucky enough to see a sitatunga during one of our excursions.
The setting and decor of the camp was lovely and the whole operation very polished; one occasionally had the sense of being completely surrounded by staff eager to help and make one feel welcome, but on the whole this wasn't necessarily a very bad thing!"
Islands of Siankaba
"Islands of Siankaba review"
The lodge is located at the end of quite a lengthy track which seemed to go on for miles on the day of our road transfer from Kasane, but which we felt ultimately enhanced the sense of seclusion and tranquility.
The staff were delightful, the food delicious, our room lovely -- and we particularly enjoyed being the only guests on the final day of our trip!"
Not particularly close to the airport, and we were given a room which looked out onto a large wall, but this was absolutely fine as our principal objective was sleep!
The atmosphere was relaxed and warmly welcoming, and the service and food (especially the delicious breakfast) were also good - better in fact than our previous experience in 2019, though it probably helped that we were in less of a rush on this occasion."