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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Family S from Sheffield

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

2

Lodges stayed in

6

Excursions taken

0

A marvellous trip, superbly managed

Tanzania and 1 other country between 15 Aug 2014 and 29 Aug 2014

Trip rating: Excellent
"From the moment of my first contact with Expert Africa (late one night - and I got straight through to Maruska in the New Zealand office!) I had nothing but praise for the friendly professionalism that guided us through the planning of our special family holiday to Tanzania. Expert Africa had been recommended to us by friends who had been on several safaris (the first ones with other companies) and we were delighted with the service provided. Having established the hopes of our group for the trip, Maruska helped me through planning the details with clear explanations about the pros and cons of any choices and the range of options available. Maruska's responsiveness as I articulated various preferences of the group was marvellous and the recommendation, quite late on, of spending our last 3 nights on Chumbe Island was inspired.

The actual trip went like clockwork. Every detail had been planned for and was delivered brilliantly All the fights and transfers worked smoothly and everywhere we went we were expected and welcomed. All the accommodation was just right - and just as we expected. Above all, we had the most brilliant driver/guide on our week-long safari. We were delighted to be with Asilia, a well regarded Tanzanian company with excellent credentials and our assigned guide, Stanford, was absolutely fantastic. He was calm, considerate, efficient and good humoured, but beyond that he was incredibly knowledgeable, thoughtful, flexible and humourous. And he worked so hard! He undertook the duties of driving, guiding, communicating in excellent English and responding to any requests with a calm composure that ensured we had the most wonderful experience. We would like to put on record our enormous gratitude for this - and to thank Expert Africa and Asilia for assigning him to us!

The safari was very special and we loved the camps. I worried a few times before we left the UK whether 7 days on safari might seem like too much of a good thing but I needn't have worried. Stanford's skill enabled us to learn more and more about animal behaviour as the week went by and we were as interested on the morning of day 8, en route to the airstrip and our flight to Zanzibar, as were were on day 1 when, after a night flight, we set off at lunchtime for Arusha National Park. Tarangire, Lake Manyara and the Serengeti built brilliantly on this start

Finishing our holiday in Zanzibar was also wonderful. The tropical beaches were gorgeous and the relaxed vibe was enjoyed by all 7 of us. And the final three days on Chumbe - absolutely magical! The entire trip surpassed our (always high!) expectations and it will remain a very special experience for our family. We just wished we could have spent more time everywhere!

Thank you Expert Africa, with special thanks to Maruska - and to Liz who picked up a few queries right at the end. We have already recommended you to friends and hope one day to travel through Africa under your expert guidance again."

Arranged By Maruska Adye-Rowe


Rivertrees Country Inn

Rivertrees Country Inn

"Pleasantly relaxing start to safari"

1 night Arrived 16 Aug 2014
"It's a beautiful setting at Rivertrees and the grounds are delightful.

Quirky rooms full of character - and a fantastic night's sleep after the long journey! Pleasant food and helpful staff; no pool currently (not that we were wanting this) but work due to start soon apparently.

We enjoyed visiting Arusha National Park (and the canoe experience was fabulous) and would have been happy to spend more than the one night here."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Little Oliver's Camp

Little Oliver's Camp

"Fabulous camp with wonderful game viewing"

2 nights Arrived 17 Aug 2014
"Staying as a family group of 7, we were the only guests at Little Oliver's for our two nights which only served to make it a more magical experience. The setting was wonderful and, arriving just before sunset after an excellent game drive through Tarangire, we were treated to the first of two gorgeous spectacles of sunset from the terrace.

This was our first experience of safari 'camping' and we loved it. The main area has a sturdy frame and roof, but with open sides, and so still provides a real outdoors experience - and the campfire (with bar!) is a particularly delightful venue for the pre-dinner drinks. The tents have a concrete base and are protected by a thatched roof, giving a more permanent look to the camp, but again the experience is of being outdoors - and the sheer mosquito-netted 'front' provides the most amazing views (from the bed!) across the bush.

The tents are very well spaced for privacy and also for additional game viewing - we needed our escorts with us as elephants passed through the camp blocking our way on several occasions! The water buck and various antelope were vaguely interested in us but generally they all just got on with their lives as if we weren't there.

The level of service was excellent. All staff were so friendly and keen to offer any support - including teaching us some Swahili songs around the campfire - a particularly special treat. The food was delicious - how that standard of food is created in such limited conditions so far from anywhere is astounding!

Tarangire provided us with our best (most concentrated) game viewing and the location of Little Oliver's so deep within the Park meant that we were well away from the busier areas. Mind you, we weren't even aware of the slightly bigger Oliver's Camp which was nearby! We stayed two nights but would have loved to stay longer. Tarangire still had plenty to offer and it would have been lovely to spend a bit more time just relaxing at the camp. We didn't have time to undertake a walking safari which would have been particularly good for my husband who's a keen birder - this was the only place on our tour where we could have done this. Some of the group did the night safari though which they really enjoyed."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Ngorongoro Farmhouse Lodge

Ngorongoro Farmhouse Lodge

"Lovely setting, close to the crater"

2 nights Arrived 19 Aug 2014
"This was the biggest of the places we stayed and, not surprisingly, the most impersonal. However, the lush setting was very nice indeed and we valued the views, the colours and the peace very much after our safari drives. The pool was very pleasant too after a long morning in the (fantastic) dusty crater.

The buffet style meals were perfectly acceptable and the freshly-cooked-before-your-eyes stir fry which was on offer on one of our two nights was very tasty. We thought the select-your-own sandwich lunch arrangement was very efficient too.

The rooms were large with pleasant terraces. The fact that the 'bungalows' are well spread out across the grounds is both an advantage (privacy/tranquility) and a disadvantage (it means a dark walk to/from the main building). We were quite happy with this and, though we had no need of them, the cosy armchairs in front of an open fire would have been quite appealing at a different time of year!

Oh - and the post-safari massage in the spa area was lovely!"
Good
Location
Good
Service
Average
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Dunia Camp

Dunia Camp

"Deep in the Serengeti, a warm welcome awaits!"

2 nights Arrived 21 Aug 2014
"Dunia camp blends so well into the landscape, you can genuinely feel alone in the Serengeti; amazing! We were greeted warmly, the staff were lovely and the service was excellent. The food was also exceptional; as well as all the extras, the fish as main course on our first evening and the pork the second were as good as we have had anywhere, ever - how do they do it?!

The camp was a fabulous experience. We loved the quirkiness of the bucket showers, which were perfectly warm and serviceable - the bathrooms are also generally well equipped. The tents were genuinely comfortable and the views of sunrise (from the beds!) were absolutely beautiful. Half an hour after a glowing dawn, the sun rose above a hill opposite the camp, affording a double opportunity to relish the natural beauty.

It was the dry season in the central Serengeti when we were there, so the big herds of wildebeest etc were further north, but we still saw an extensive range of wildlife. For instance, on our last morning, as we headed to the airstrip at Seronera (an hour's journey, but we dawdled and took two) we saw - lions, leopards, cheetahs (yes, all plural!), giraffes, elephants, buffalo, warthogs, baboons, zebra, ostriches, hyenas, jackals, many different antelope and lots of birds. But we came to realise that 'sightings' themselves are only a small part of the story on safari . The knowledge brought by our fantastic guide, Stanford, encouraged us to understand some aspects of the animals' behaviour and that was endlessly fascinating so that even after 7 full days we were still all engaged and involved.

The Serengeti itself was a fascinating landscape with the 'kopjes' (granite tors) providing interest in the central area and the sheer extent of the plains in the south being breath-taking."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Mbweni Ruins Hotel

Mbweni Ruins Hotel

"Comfortable and convenient; great location"

2 nights Arrived 23 Aug 2014
"Our final destination on this holiday, after a week on safari, was Chumbe Island and the boat to Chumbe goes from the jetty at Mbweni Ruins Hotel. Since the hotel is also close to the airport and right on the beach, we selected this over more central Stonetown hotels and weren't disappointed. It was easy to get in to Stonetown (free shuttle) and the hotel could also arrange private tours of the island/Stonetown.

The rooms were comfortable and (though we weren't interested in the televisions!) our group appreciated the well equipped bathrooms, the easy chairs and the cool balconies. There is a small swimming pool right next to the beach and beds with parasols reserved for guests. The grounds were shady and colourful and the views of and from the west-facing beach beautiful.

The menu was OK though not particularly extensive. The service (generally) was relaxed to the point of slow, but staff were friendly and tried to be helpful. It was good to be able to spend the day back at the hotel on our return from Chumbe, while waiting for an evening flight home. A lovely massage, in a cool room in the 'ruins' themselves was also much enjoyed."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Average
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Chumbe Island Lodge

Chumbe Island Lodge

"A magical finale to a fabulous trip"

3 nights Arrived 25 Aug 2014
"So many superlatives have been used in reviews about Chumbe that it is hard not to be repetitive, but this really is a very special place. Approaching the island on the boat provides an entrancing introduction to the island - one that does not disappoint. Travelling across at low tide, we had to wade to and from the boat but this just helped to create the sense of 'otherness' which is such a feature of a stay on Chumbe - and we were fully and ably supported by the staff who guided us and carried our bags.

The island is absolutely beautiful. At every turn, and at every tide, there are fresh views which take your breath away. With only 7 'rooms' and a few day visitors (2-5), the tranqulity was perfect for us. All around the island are places to sit (or lie!) to read, watch, sleep or just 'be' as the surf rolls around and the breeze blows. The idal range is marked, providing interesting contrasts between open, golden beaches and water lapping at your feet, and the guided inter-tidal walk provided an opportunity to walk right around the island and experience a unique 360 view. Another fantastic 360 view was from the top of the lighthouse - so don't be put off by the high number of steps to the top; there are palces to rest on the way!

The huts/houses/rooms (what to call them?) are wonderful creations where environmental innovations are stunning in their efficacy, efficiency and intricate beauty. With no doors or windows, just walls and open spaces, a surprisingly intimate space is created, thanks in part to the careful placing of the huts to provide privacy. The mezzanine bedrooms with their mospquito net tents and views straight out to sea with the clever window shutter down, provided comfortable repose as the wind and waves rocked us to sleep.

The food was very plentiful and absolutely delicious. The seafood is a particular feature and was particularly tasty and innovative. Some of the recipes are contained in the Chumbe Island Recipe Book which is a very special memento of our trip!

Staff were open, helpful and very well informed. Chumbe's role as a nature reserve and marine ecological park is a key part of their lives and it was a privilege to be part of this. The snorkelling was, as advertised, marvellous and the staff were helpful but not intrusive, allowing swimmers to explore freely. As well as snorkelling supervised from the boats, there are opportunities to simply go out from the shore at any point. In addition to this, at higher tides, the sheltered cove to the east of the main area provides a beautiful natural swimming pool.

We were privileged to spend our nights in Tanzania on Chumbe and this was truly a wonderful conclusion to a fabulous trip. You could get an impression of the island from a day trip - but it would leave you wanting more. We stayed three days and eve this wasn't long enough!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

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