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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs C from Berwick

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

6

Countries visited

5

Lodges stayed in

24

Excursions taken

1

Top of the range guiding

Zimbabwe between 20 Apr 2019 and 9 May 2019

Trip rating: Excellent
"Zimbabwe is famous for the quality of its guiding and we weren't disappointed. Differences in age, experience and interests among guides at the three camps we visited made for an excellent, well-rounded trip.

We did more bush walking here than on any of our previous several trips in other African countries and enjoyed it very much (especially when a surprised aardwolf resting in long grass jumped out right in front of us!).

Compared to many previous safaris, the night drives were exceptional (providing some great photographic opportunities).

We were glad we selected camps in two very distinct parts of Hwange NP before going north to Mana Pools, which was different again.

Conditions varied too: the Camp Hwange area was still very green; Somalisa Expeditions (still in Hwange) and Vundu at Mana Pools both unseasonally dry.

We were taken aback by the large numbers of elephants, particularly in eastern Hwange, but fear for the future with Zimbabwe exporting elephants (and other wildlife) from there to China because of its dire financial situation plus continued poaching, voiced on the ground at Mana Pools.

All three camps' accommodation was very good though vegetarian food was a bit variable, the best being at Somalisa Expeditions camp."

Ilala Lodge

Ilala Lodge

"Overnight stay"

1 night Arrived 21 Apr 2019
"We only stayed briefly, arriving mid evening and leaving early morning.

It is a lot larger than when we last visited several years ago and consequently has lost its small hotel appeal. Staff very friendly and helpful."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Camp Hwange

Camp Hwange

"Memorable encounters"

6 nights Arrived 22 Apr 2019
"The camp is quite isolated and the only other vehicles we saw were a handful of self drivers using the campsites in the area.

There had been some rain not long before our visit so wildlife was dispersed and a little harder to find. For most of the time we had ZimPro guide Moses, almost qualified Jean and tracker Changa so not much escaped their notice and there was a constant flow of knowledge and bush facts.

We enjoyed three walks and the biggest surprise was an aardwolf jumping out of long grass right beside us one early morning! We had memorable encounters on foot and in the jeep with lots of elephants.

Night drives were among the best we have ever had in Africa including sightings of African wildcats, genets and a wolf spider seen and located from an amazing distance, also the six lions known as the "SuperModels", which resulted in one of the best photos of the trip.

For vegetarians the food was hit and miss with lunch always better than dinner. Overall the staff were enthusiastic and knowledgeable but there was a hard to define lack of atmosphere at some meal times."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Somalisa Expeditions

Somalisa Expeditions

"So many elephants!"

5 nights Arrived 28 Apr 2019
"In contrast to our stay at Camp Hwange in the west of the park there had been very little rain here so there were some large sightings round waterholes and solar-pumped pans, particularly elephant and buffalo.

Elephants played a very big part in our time at Somalisa (we saw several hundred in total), not least at the camp itself which is well known for attracting family groups to its water tank). It's amazing being that close. A couple of naughty younger males liked coming into camp to shake acacia pods of the trees for a tasty snack right by our tent. One pushed under our guy ropes and was photographed from the outside bathroom toilet seat just the other side of the canvas. You don't get much closer!.

Ray (Xoxindaba the storyteller) was our guide and great fun and generous with his 24 years of guiding knowledge. A highlight was seeing a lioness transferring her three cubs 500 yards from a waterhole to a day-time hideaway, carrying one youngster in her mouth. We also saw one leopard and one cheetah here plus sable.

All the camp staff, headed by Egania, were exceptionally friendly and helpful. For us, as vegetarians, the meals were the best of the three-camp trip. From our tent (number three ) we could see much of the action at the water tank."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Vundu Camp

Vundu Camp

"Dogs... but much,much more"

5 nights Arrived 3 May 2019
"We were the first visitors of the season and had the camp to ourselves for a couple of nights. Owner Nick Murray and his wife were away at a trade fair and we were well looked after by manager Natalie and very experienced freelance guide Jim Mackie, who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of wildlife (no doubt helped by being a former park warden).

The scenery here is spectacular, from the views over the Zambezi as you fly in to the different landscapes as you explore the area.

Most people come here hoping to see painted dogs and we did so on three occasions (once on our own). Again it had been a poor wet season so waterholes were all but dry with animals relying on the river. Elephants were swimming or walking across the shallower parts.

Jim's night drives were very productive with sightings of genets, civets, hyena and white tailed mongoose. And he was brilliant at spotting and identifying birds. It's worth taking the afternoon canoe trip - avoiding the hippos and crocs! - to gain a different perspective.

We enjoyed several excellent bush walks including tracking three lionesses who had left their prints in camp overnight.

Breakfasts were a bit spartan so you were ready for the excellent lunches. The tents are extremely spacious and right on the edge of the Zambezi, giving this place a special atmosphere.

It's worth noting that in Mana Pools as a whole there are now no tsetse precautions being taken, though at one time they were eradicated."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good

Terrific introduction to Kenya

Kenya between 17 Jan 2018 and 4 Feb 2018

Trip rating: Excellent
"We have been to several African countries but this was our first time in Kenya and we chose areas to visit slightly off the usual track: Laikipia, Samburu and Meru.
Each was quite different but within relatively easy reach. We travelled to all three by road, only getting on a bush plane from Meru to Nairobi. Each camp too was quite individual in terms of style and atmosphere.
The tented camp Kicheche in Laikipia was our favourite overall but Saruni Samburu and Elsa's Kopje were both excellent experiences and in spectacular positions. Of the three Elsa's probably had the highest age profile.
We scored a number of firsts such as tiny lion cubs, a successful cheetah hunt and bat-eared foxes mating (in broad daylight!). It was a delight to see the animals unique to the area such as reticulated giraffe, gerenuk and Grevy's zebra. It was also a privilege to attend part of the celebrations of a Samburu wedding.
All in all a terrific trip and an introduction to Kenya that will probably be hard to beat."

Arranged By Richard Trillo


Kicheche Laikipia

Kicheche Laikipia

"High drama at Elephant Corner!"

5 nights Arrived 18 Jan 2018
"The feel at this tented bush camp is just right. Manager Louise and all her staff have got everything spot on.
The location is stunning overlooking a dam where lots of animals and birds come to drink and bathe. Most lunchtimes we were entertained by elephant, giraffe, buffalo and antelopes as well as the (always noisy) Egyptian geese and pelicans.
Ol Pejeta is an old cattle ranching area and the many water troughs around attract lots of wildlife and offer lots of photo opportunities. Guide Peter was excellent, especially in positioning the jeep for good pictures.
Staying five nights enabled us to reach most parts of the conservancy. It was quiet and we saw hardly any other vehicles while we were there. We had good sightings of many birds, also black and white rhino with offspring.
A special highlight was the discovery of lion cubs less than a week old 10 minutes from camp along with dad and his two lionesses. We had a very special sighting of the little ones. It was amazing to see the lionesses sprint off to help the male when an intruder male (and a large pack of hyena) threatened to make off with his stallion zebra kill at Elephant Corner.
The bush breakfasts were outstanding with different selections every day including baked egg with spinach and pea pastries. The choice of location for these was very good, notably two by rivers and one by a lake where we saw zebra, elephant and eland at close quarters.
Kicheche was our favourite of the three camps we stayed at on this trip and the food for vegetarians was the best we’ve had in Africa."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Saruni Samburu

Saruni Samburu

"Special sightings and a Samburu wedding"

5 nights Arrived 23 Jan 2018
"The most striking thing about the camp is its position atop a hill, literally driving up a rocky mountainside to its warm welcome and spectacular views.
The villas are spread over a large area and are a good walk from the main dining/bar/meeting area. We had the "signature" villa, number five, which had 180 degree views and is almost the furthest away! The accommodation is very large with a lounge/dining area, bedroom and huge bathroom. The little outside seating area was impressively shaded by a massive boulder. A few maintenance issues let it down, for instance large holes and broken zips in the insect mesh.
The cuisine is Italian inspired served at the communal tables for both lunch and dinner. We found the lunches to be better for us as vegetarians than the dinners. The bush breakfasts were basic.
The camp is in the conservancy and a half hour drive from the national park entrance. The park itself proved to be the busiest of the three areas we visited. We weren't comfortable getting involved in a lion sighting that attracted 10 jeeps and a school bus. Having said that we had some spectacular viewings, including the successful hunting of a young Grant's gazelle by a cheetah with very small cubs,bat-eared foxes mating, and gerenuk browsing on their hind legs.
While wildlife may be a bit more shy and harder to spot in the conservancy, it is certainly worth spending time there. On the last full day of our five-night stay we saw a herd of 15 Grevy's zebra and caught a fleeting glimpse of an aardwolf.
The guides and staff are all traditionally dressed Samburu. Guide Simon and tracker Emanuel were good company with impressive spotting skills. One of the guides was getting married during our visit and we were very privileged to be invited to go along to part of the two-day Samburu celebrations."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Elsa's Kopje

Elsa's Kopje

"Barely another jeep in sight . . ."

6 nights Arrived 28 Jan 2018
"Elsa's is an hour's drive into the national park from the gate and is in an isolated position with no other nearby lodges. Six nights gave us a chance to explore areas less visited (although we needed to suggest this, probably because most people stay fewer nights).
Meru covers a huge area and a large part of it is off limits anyway because of the density of the bush. During our stay we didn't see any vehicles other than from the camp or driven by rangers.
This property is immaculately maintained and housekeeping second to none (thank you Christopher!).
All the staff were extremely helpful and friendly and the lunches very good for us as vegetarians. Dinners were a bit hit and miss (a bizarre main of rice and mashed potato for instance). Breakfasts were uninspired compared to Kicheche. We liked the individual dining as a change.
Sightings here were not as prolific as at Laikipia and Samburu but there were huge herds of buffalo, plenty of elephant and giraffe and a brilliant tally of birds, which guide Simon was expert in spotting.
We also saw two separate pairs of honey badgers (one racing off with a snake in its mouth), a striped hyena (which helped us find two lionesses and their four teenage boys) and a bachelor group of gerenuk. A visit to the protected rhino area (which is well worth visiting) yielded a total of 10 southern whites, including a very young one.
Particular features of the park are the huge palm trees and the number of rivers and streams running through. While some were dry, many were not and attract all manner of wildlife from insects and birds to hippo, elephant and buffalo. This offers great photographic opportunities.
Although there is quite a bit of memorabilia from the Elsa/Born Free story around the camp, very little is made of it when out on the drives."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent

Asilia trip exceeded our expectations

Tanzania between 1 Feb 2017 and 17 Feb 2017

Trip rating: Excellent
"The trip consisted of two nights at Arusha plus a total of 15 at Asilia camps: Highlands, Namiri and Sayari. All were very different but with one thing in common: the guiding and staff were excellent.

We would recommend Asilia camps because you can expect high standards across the board and also in the knowledge that they are involved in and contribute towards local communities. They employ as many local people as possible: at Highlands for instance there are Masai community guides. Asilia also have impressive training programmes: while at Sayari we saw this in action as a new batch of trainee guides was being selected.

Overall the balance of the trip was very good: the camps were in very different landscapes and the wildlife viewing exceeded our expectations."

Machweo

Machweo

"Good food at Machweo"

1 night Arrived 1 Feb 2017
"We spent two nights at Machweo. It was a handy starting point as about a hour from Kilimanjaro airport and just outside Arusha. The food was excellent at every meal and, although not far from the main road, the rooms quiet and clean.

Recommend visiting the Cultural Heritage Centre just on the other side of Arusha, which also boats a fabulous modern gallery displaying African art and sculpture and a craft centre. On leaving we had a small problem over a $60 charge for the taxi to the Cultural Centre. We pointed out that it stated it was free in the guest information folder. We hope that has now been made clear!"
Good
Location
Good
Service
Good
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
The Highlands

The Highlands

"Spectacular scenery at the Highlands"

4 nights Arrived 2 Feb 2017
"The Highlands is located in spectacular countryside with stunning views (at least from our dome which was nearest the communal area) .We spent four nights here (three full days) which was just right for the activities offered.

The accommodation is pretty luxurious and comfortable. The rooms do cool down at night but we didn't find them as cold in the morning as some have commented. The camp is nearly a hour's drive from the Ngorongoro crater entrance so an early start and a full day out with packed lunch is necessary. We expected the crater to be chocker with jeeps but it was relatively quiet.

On the other hand the half day hikes out to Olmoti and Empakai offer something a bit different - an opportunity to stretch your legs, tremendous views and hardly a tourist in sight. A degree of fitness is required though! The Masai village visit is also very interesting as it's quite natural and not a peep show like most tourists see. Asilia are involved with the local community and school. There were only a handful of other guests at the camp during our stay. Lunches were good but dinner (we're vegetarian) was very much a hit and miss affair."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Average
Facilities
Excellent
Namiri Plains Camp

Namiri Plains Camp

"Cats cats cats - and an aardwolf - at Namiri"

6 nights Arrived 6 Feb 2017
"We booked for six nights at Namiri as we wanted to have as much time with cheetahs as possible - and were so glad we did. We saw them every day, including 12 during one morning game drive. A pride of lions was also in residence - and hunting buffalo - near the camp and we saw others on every drive, plus a caracal, African wild cat and an aardwolf (twice)! And fortunately for us - and a huge unexpected bonus - was that the great migration was very late and still passing though the area so on every drive there were enormous herds of wildebeest and zebra.

Staff at Namiri were uniformally excellent and the food good. The spacious tents look down to the river and the camp has a feel of quiet isolation. Although we saw a few other jeeps from other camps, they were on the limit of their range and many sightings were exclusive. It gets windy on the Serengeti so when it's dry the dust whips up. Be prepared. Special mention to manager Epimark for looking after us and to guide Kivuyo whose eyes are like binoculars and we later found out was Asilia's Guide of the Year 2016."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Sayari Camp

Sayari Camp

"Superb Sayari"

5 nights Arrived 12 Feb 2017
"Our last camp was Sayari where we spent five nights and were delighted to have the nearest tent to the spacious communal area (some are so far away that you need a ride). The tents are large, comfortable and very private with a welcome shady verandah with table, chairs and bean bags and a good view over the bush. Staff were very friendly and attentive and the food for vegetarians was the best we have eaten on any safari.

The wildlife viewing was extremely varied because of the nearby Mara river and the different habitats of surrounding countryside including very rocky areas, dense bush, open plains and rolling hills. Highlights for us were three separate close-quarters leopard sightings plus a couple of breakfasts on the spectacularly lovely border watching the Kenyan rangers watching us. An amusing moment was being with two splendid male lions who were totally relaxed until they suddenly became aware of several rangers on foot in the distance!

We really didn't expect to see so much and in such quantity (in many cases) at this time of the year. Special thanks to manager Jen, Freddie the chef and our guide Godson for his infectious enthusiasm."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

Everything we had hoped for and more

Namibia between 22 Apr 2016 and 9 May 2016

Trip rating: Excellent
"We were very glad we decided to fly between most of the camps. The trip would have taken several weeks by road but each and every flight was "scenic" and you only get a real appreciation of the topography from the air. Landscapes in particular are unlike anywhere else we have visited. We enjoyed the whole trip hugely: so different from other safari holidays taken. We saw everything we had hoped for - from desert adapted lions and elephants to walking with black rhino and cheetah. We thought the level of knowledge of the guides in general was not as extensive as other African countries we have visited. Bruno at Mundulea stood head and shoulders above the rest in this regard. Advice for other vegetarians is that this is a very meat-based society but the overall quality of the offerings - with one or two notable exceptions - was uniformly poor and way below our experience in Botswana and Tanzania. It didn't detract from our enjoyment but would have enhanced it! Thanks to Sabina for picking up the organising reins mid-way, in particular flagging up an earlier bush flight on our arrival day."

Little Kulala

Little Kulala

"Excellent first stop"

3 nights Arrived 22 Apr 2016
"Our first stop. Staff very welcoming and the communal areas excellent with open views over waterhole towards dunes. Very large, immaculate and private personal space though we didn't use the rooftop bed as the nights were getting a bit cold. If you want to do all the activities and have a bit of relaxing time in between you really do need three nights as we had booked. Highlight of our stay was the (optional) sunrise balloon trip - expensive but not to be missed. Also the African wild cat we saw from our room! The vegetarian food was better than most of the other camps.

Sunrise Balloon Trip
Must-do experience
Four balloons were taking off that day and we were lucky to be in one for eight people (rather than 16!). Each couple has a corner so no jockeying for position. Conditions terrific and we followed the dry river bed towards the dunes landing after about 1¼ hours. Our pilot Rob demonstrated great skill in manoeuvring both vertically and horizontally: also at the champagne breakfast where he hacked off the neck of a bottle of champagne with a machete finally knocking off the end in a flourish of fizz! Although expensive it is an absolute must-do experience. Stunning, serene and a photographer's dream."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Average
Facilities
Good
Ballooning in the Namib Desert

Ballooning in the Namib Desert

"Must-do experience"

23 Apr 2016 • Morning excursion

Four balloons were taking off that day and we were lucky to be in one for eight people (rather than 16!). Each couple has a corner so no jockeying for position. Conditions terrific and we followed the dry river bed towards the dunes landing after about 1¼ hours. Our pilot Rob demonstrated great skill in manoeuvring both vertically and horizontally: also at the champagne breakfast where he hacked off the neck of a bottle of champagne with a machete finally knocking off the end in a flourish of fizz! Although expensive it is an absolute must-do experience. Stunning, serene and a photographer's dream.
Excellent
Desert Rhino Camp

Desert Rhino Camp

"Millionaire moments"

3 nights Arrived 25 Apr 2016
"Our second camp and another three-night stay. Staff again welcoming and friendly. Tents very comfortable and clean. Focus very much on the tracking of black rhino and we are lucky to see them each time we go out with the trackers. On the second morning we were SO lucky to be the only guests going out and had unforgettable experiences getting close to a mum and teenager then an old boy napping under a tree. Millionaire moments. Can be difficult terrain but it is hugely varied, often dramatic, across the reserve. Zone four, for instance has lots of green in the dry river beds. Bush lunches with the trackers were good. However, the evening meals for vegetarians were poor. The bush dinner defied any description and was probably the worst food we have ever had in Africa."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Poor
Facilities
Excellent
Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

"Surprises on the Skeleton Coast"

3 nights Arrived 28 Apr 2016
"Dramatic location with huge rooms that look like Bedhouin tents from the outside but with all mod cons in sleeping and living "pods". High-octane camp manager Clement is totally on everything! You really do need three nights here. We spent several hours with two lionesses and three cubs at very close quarters and tracked a small herd of desert-adapted elephants (of all ages, including very small) along the river bed. Also saw a rare brown hyena. The trip to the coast, including lunch on Garnet Beach, is full of surprises which we won't spoil for future visitors. Just make sure you go on it! Special thanks to all the staff for making a birthday celebration extra special - everyone had to get up and dance! Food again average for vegetarians (vegetable curry the first night and vegetable biriyani the second doesn't show a great deal of imagination)."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Average
Facilities
Excellent
Little Ongava

Little Ongava

"Wish we'd stayed longer!"

2 nights Arrived 1 May 2016
"We spent only two nights here, having thought that Etosha would be very busy (which we try to avoid). In fact we wished we had spent another night as Little Ongava was the best accommodation of the trip ... and the best vegetarian food! The chalets are huge and immaculate, also very, very private. Because there are only three chalets, the communal area is quiet with an intimate atmosphere. Louis the manager gets a special mention. The regular guide was on sick leave but Michael was a very good replacement. In the event, we had a half day in Etosha with him (no other guests) and were pleasantly surprised: with the exception of the watering holes it was easy to get away from other vehicles. During two evening drives we walked with white rhino in Ongava's reserve. The chef showed imagination with his veggie options and we had a magnificent packed lunch on the day we departed. The Ongava camps are no longer part of Wilderness Safaris."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Mundulea Reserve

Mundulea Reserve

"Walking with Bruno"

3 nights Arrived 3 May 2016
"This was very different to all our other accommodation on the trip as it is a basic bush camp with open-fire kitchen. It is a walking camp run and guided by the owner Bruno. Stayed three nights during which time we were the only guests in the camp with him and his helper Tommy. From the moment we arrived we did not get in a vehicle until the day we left. This is all about the reserve Bruno has set up for endangered species and his encyclopaedic knowledge. He was the most informative and knowledgeable guide of the trip. The weather was unseasonably hot which led to some steamy bush walks as the sun rose in the sky. There are hides by the tents which are rewarding. Best of all was a full early morning walk to a large water hole attracting all manner of visitors. Despite the basic facilities the vegetarian food was better than most of the other camps. It is an intensely personal experience and it is a privilege to share in Bruno's vision."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Average
Food
Average
Facilities
Average
Okonjima Bush Camp

Okonjima Bush Camp

"Cheetah magic"

2 nights Arrived 6 May 2016
"Our last stop of the trip and for two nights. First impressions were that it might all be quite contrived but not a bit of it. We encountered surprisingly few other vehicles on our drives (the guides actually communicate to try to avoid each other which is unlike many camps when finding a special animal). Yes many of the cats are collared but sightings don't seem at all artificial. The photographic opportunities with leopard and cheetah are absolutely unrivalled. Possibly the most magic moments of the whole trip were walking within 10 paces of the fastest mammal on the planet. The Africat Centre does a magnificent job rehabilitating and (sometimes) releasing big cats and you are missing the point if you don't make time to visit. The central area of the camp is more hotel-like than some but the chalets offer excellent accommodation with outdoor sitting room (overlooking a little watering hole and with seed to feed the birds). Vegetarian food again very disappointing."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Poor
Facilities
Excellent

We wouldn't have changed a thing

Tanzania between 13 Jan 2015 and 28 Jan 2015

Trip rating: Excellent
"After a safari to Botswana in September 2013 we decided to visit Tanzania in green season, deliberately targeting Selous and Ruaha as a less busy area. Both locations far exceeded expectations and offered a very varied landscape with wildlife to match.

Our three camps were different in character and in how they operate. We were so glad we spent five nights at each as this allowed time to fully explore each area as well as getting to know the guides and staff. We didn't travel with expectations of seeing particular animals and with the bush in full growth thought sightings might be more elusive. However, we saw everything we thought we might see and much more. The number and variety of birds, including migrants, was stunning.

Everything went like clockwork, including camps being aware that we are vegetarian (not a problem!). Without exception staff were friendly, welcoming, informative and helpful. The time flew by and more than 3,000 photographs later, we were sad to leave. We wouldn't have changed a thing."

Selous Impala Camp

Selous Impala Camp

"Great start to our Tanzanian safari"

5 nights Arrived 13 Jan 2015
"This was the first camp of three on our 15-night trip. We stayed five nights and it totally exceeded our expectations. This proved a terrific time of year to visit: although the bush had sprung into life we still saw a huge variety of wildlife including triplet lion cubs. Water levels were high enabling us to enjoy two boat trips: one as far as Lake Nzerakera, which had been dry just a few weeks before.

The staff were very welcoming, helpful and friendly. Our guide Ezra and driver Kharidi were top notch. We are not birders but this is the best season for them as there are many migratory species and Ezra's enthusiasm certainly rubbed off. This was the only camp where we could have game drives, boat trips and walks: each evening we were asked what we would like to do the following day.

Dining at Impala is different with individual tables rather than communal and at a different location each night. We liked this as being a bit different. As vegetarians we enjoyed wonderful and varied food, no doubt inspired by Fausto, the Italian camp manager. The tents are perfectly clean and functional but may be coming up to needing some refurbishment. This did not interfere with our enjoyment in any way. An early highlight was a huge welcoming herd of impala greeting us on the road as we drove from the airstrip: how appropriate!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Beho Beho

Beho Beho

"Spectacular!"

5 nights Arrived 18 Jan 2015
"Beho Beho was the second of three camps during our trip. We stayed five nights at each and this was the most luxurious. It is in a spectacular location made even more so by the rains bringing new life to the bush. The wildlife was plentiful and varied. The flocks of carmine bee-eaters following the jeep for the insects it disturbed are worth a special mention. A particular highlight were the bush breakfasts: one being a full cooked meal by the side of Lake Tagalala watching hippos and crocodiles. That was an amazing day.

You don't get the same guide each time and this unique approach does offer different perspectives and areas of expertise. We enjoyed all of them. During our drives we hardly saw another jeep adding to the whole experience of having the place to yourself. We were lucky to go on two walks with Walter (the manager) which were wonderfully informative. On the second we were flagging a bit with the heat and wondering at what point we were going to be heading back only to be greeted by a table on a hill with sundowners at the ready. Attention to detail here is second to none.

The open-fronted stone bandas seemed a bit of a scary concept but in fact proved quite cool during the hot afternoons and attracted surprisingly few insects when lights were on. For most of the time there were only two other guests. We ate communally at different locations: for example by the pool or Beho's own watering hole. On our last morning we had a very special wake-up call by an elephant at the front of our banda!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kwihala Camp

Kwihala Camp

"Kwihala Camp review"

5 nights Arrived 23 Jan 2015
"This was our third and final camp. We stayed five nights and really didn't want to leave! Ruaha at this time of year is truly magical: lush and varied landscapes giving up their wonderful wildlife secrets and a true feeling of isolation. We saw huge numbers of elephants - on a couple of occasions more than 100 at once. We saw lions every day and at the end of one evening drive found a cheetah with the help of three very focused giraffes and our guide Lorenzo. The amount and variety of wildlife and birds was a revelation.

During the course of our stay we encountered only a couple of other vehicles in the vastness of the national park. Although you can't go off road here it didn't seem to make much difference. We still had fantastic close encounters and not only with the cats. Very special were the tiny dick-dick and klipspringers: two of the smallest antelopes. Lorenzo and his Masai assistant Daudi were a joy to be with and great fun. Lorenzo is a mine of information and has boundless enthusiasm for his subject. Every day was a great adventure.

The camp has been recently taken over by Asilia and new manager Sandy is a fabulous host. Again all the staff were friendly and helpful and our vegetarian diet was magnificently catered for. The camp is simple but stylish, comfortable and clean, with widely spaced individual tents. We felt like we were the only ones in the bush as we drifted off to sleep to the sound of lionesses calling from the nearby Mwagussi river."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

Magic moments

Botswana and 1 other country between 4 Sep 2013 and 16 Sep 2013

Trip rating: Excellent
"First we thought Nick advised us well to start at Victoria Falls then move on to the camps. The pre-holiday information sent by Expert Africa was extremely informative and useful and Nick was always prompt in answering our queries.

The three Kwando camps were uniformly excellent but different in their own ways. The common denominator was the positive and welcoming attitude of all the staff. No exceptions. We can't praise them too highly. All were extremely helpful, worked hard and really seemed to want to contribute to the enjoyment of your holiday.

We were apprehensive when setting out as to how we would cope as vegetarians but we enjoyed every meal. We have seen negative reviews about the food but literally everything is cooked or prepared from scratch and we found it extraordinary how such delicious things are prepared in the middle of nowhere.

A small point but we think Kwando are missing an opportunity in the camp shops where there is little choice of local crafts as mementoes. Indeed no-one seemed to know what if anything had been made in Botswana.

This was our first visit to Africa and would probably be difficult to beat. Everything went smoothly from the moment we landed at Victoria Falls to our return flight to Maun. We saw everything that we wanted to see and more and returned home with more than 1600 photographs and memories that will be with us for a long time. Kwando's policy of a maximum six people per jeep makes for memorable and intimate sightings. On a couple of occasions we were the only ones in the jeep. Being so close to the wildlife with no-one else about was magical."

Ilala Lodge

Ilala Lodge

"Great location for Victoria Falls"

2 nights Arrived 5 Sep 2013
"The hotel is in an excellent location and ideal being just a short walk to Victoria Falls. The staff were very friendly and helpful and the quality and choice for vegetarians in the evening was surprisingly good.

We did think the bedroom and bathroom were a little tired and needed updating. But both were clean and this didn't detract from the two nights we spent there.

We were surprised to be starting our wildlife sightings here with mongoose, hippo and warthogs in the hotel garden.

We enjoyed a sunset cruise on the hotel's boat Ra Ikane which, though quite expensive, proved to be a terrific experience thanks to the skipper and his mate."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Average
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Lebala Camp

Lebala Camp

"Great introduction to Kwando camps"

2 nights Arrived 7 Sep 2013
"Lebala was our first experience of an African bush camp and we enjoyed every minute. The proximity of hippo and elephant to our tent during the night was really quite a buzz. The game drives during our two-night stay were terrific thanks to the guide and tracker. The two sundowner drives at this camp were the best thanks to the choice of location.

The camp was full and we felt that this was the maximum number of other guests that we would want to interact with on this sort of holiday."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Lagoon Camp

Lagoon Camp

"Superb location and sumptuous accommodation"

2 nights Arrived 9 Sep 2013
"This camp is in a fabulous location and the accommodation was the most sumptuous of the three we stayed at. Again the guide and tracker were very helpful and informative.

Without leaving the camp we were able to enjoy elephants crossing the river and even wandering through the site. We very much enjoyed the evening boat cruise and the chance to stretch our legs on a walk."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Little Kwara

Little Kwara

"Little Kwara ... big experience"

4 nights Arrived 11 Sep 2013
"This was our last camp and we stayed for four nights. It was the smallest with five tents and a total of nine guests. That suited us very well.

The guide and tracker were very pro-active and on a number of occasions we actively tracked animals rather than seeing what turned up. Dutch the guide was very good at positioning the vehicle to get the best light for photographs. Both he and the other guide Tom proved good company at mealtimes and were a mine of information.

All the guests were leaving on the same day so we had a great farewell dinner with dancing and singing. The accommodation here may be a little more basic but our tent was in a great location overlooking the lake and in our eyes was just as good as the other two camps. Particular highlights for us were: watching Dutch and Chester go through the fascinating process of tracking (and finding!) cheetahs; the evening boat dash back from the heronry and our mokoro trip with Tom at the helm and hippos watching our every move."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

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