Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs B from Wokingham
Total number of trips
Lodges stayed in
Fallen back in love with Kenya
Kenya between 31 Aug 2017 and 17 Sep 2017
On our last day in the Mara we were lucky to see not only wildebeest crossing the river in their hundreds if not thousands and a lioness picking them off as they came up the bank. She took three down and went for a fourth but failed. What a spectacle!
But the Toyota Migration was something else! Way too many vehicles, too much speeding and too many vehicles (probably unlicensed) out from Nairobi with their customers. We came across one vehicle who'd got stuck in mud. The driver didn't even have a tow rope.
The Naboisho Conservancy was much quieter without the crowds, the beach divine. Yes, we've fallen back in love with Kenya."
"Perfect for one night"
"What a great camp"
Firstly as they don't usually use open vehicles, Asilia kindly brought one in for us along with a guide. We were also given one of just 13 Gold Star East African safari guides to look after us during our stay so we had plenty of knowledge in the vehicle.
Stacey, Peter and the staff looked after us well. Breakfast (which we feel could be improved) was always in the bush, lunch could be either a buffet in camp or also in the bush if we stayed out in the hope of seeing some of the migration. Dinner was inside due to the temperature but was good quality.
The tents were very comfortable. We were in number 2 which is a family tent so had a separate bedroom at the back with three separate beds as well as the bedroom at the front. It also had the advantage of being by the Wifi tent so we were able to upload photos from the comfort of our room.
The siting, on the bend of the river, was very pretty. As the river was swollen with new rain, we thought someone had turned the air conditioning on when we woke in the morning. Lovely to see a couple of giraffes wandering past our bedroom and the main deck area.
On our final morning we were leaving early for a balloon trip and were surprised and impressed that Stacey, Peter and Jacky had all got up at 4am to say goodbye."
"Perhaps not as good as they think they are?"
Facing a plain with plenty of mammals, the camp is set in a pretty but not spectacular position. The general areas are lovely and the tent also very comfortable and large. The beds were delightful as I soon found out as I'd picked up a stomach bug so got into bed for the first 36 hours with a couple of hot water bottles!
As with Rekero, breakfast was taken out on the drive where our guide found a pretty and comfortable spot to sit. Lunch was buffet style and dinner was a choice of two mains and served plated.
The staff were pleasant but the main issue was that most staff were geared to dealing with a large party of journalists so we very much felt a them/us situation as it was just two of us who weren't part of the group.
We were disappointed that nobody from management could be bothered to say goodbye to us on our last morning as we left camp yet at Rekero we had a send-off from three members of staff at 4.15am. Maybe our money wasn't as good as a repeat, large group ...?"
The Sands At Nomad
The rooms are dark and really need to be updated. They say their style is "Swahili" meaning dark, solid wood and it probably is, but the whole hotel would benefit from lighter colours, better cushions outside the rooms, new towels etc.. The bed was very comfortable.
Food was an absolute delight and the beautiful restaurant on the beach is just somewhere to sit and people watch. The menu is varied and whilst we were on full board, we could eat a sandwich or a chateaubriand - we didn't have to stay within a price bracket. Apparently there is an a la carte restaurant which we didn't even bother to visit as the beach restaurant was perfect for us.
The situation of this hotel is just beautiful. You can walk for miles on powder like sand and the sea felt safe as the reef protected the beach from the worst of the waves. If flights improved (BA arrive into Nairobi at 9pm so an overnight stay is needed, then a trip across town to Wilson the domestic airport to fly to Diani or you can fly Turkish via Istanbul but then to Mombassa) and you could get there easier, this would be an ideal spot for a beach holiday with or without safari.
Many highlights - and a couple of lows
Rwanda and 2 other countries between 30 Jun 2015 and 11 Jul 2015
The Serengeti was a real pleasant surprise. Beautiful countryside and plenty of great game. After the lack of elephants in the Serengeti, it was a pleasure to see so many in Tarangire, but due to the repetitive nature of the game drives and tsetse flies, I can't imaging wanting to return.
All in all a memorable trip."
"Short, efficient stay"
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge
"We've given you private feedback"
Jack Hanna's Guesthouse, Rwanda (this camp has since closed)
"Intimate, super professional and comfortable"
Shoes and gaiters were removed for cleaning the instant we returned from our trek and we were given sandals to wear.
Judith was a very professional manager who gave us a briefing but otherwise gave us our own space; there was a chef and "server" along with a couple of other people who cleaned and looked after the fire.
The sitting room was warm and comfortable and there was a lovely outdoor seating area to sit with a drink or have lunch.
Bicycles and golf gear were available should you still have any energy!"
Lodge not featured by Expert Africa
Kigali Serena Hotel
"Good room but service let it down"
Room service incredibly slow - lack of menus etc.."
"A little bit of heaven on earth"
Food was good though not exceptional.
The local area was beautiful, just beautiful. Rocks, plains, the river, further plains with the wildebeest herds starting to grow, great game viewing. Leopards, lions, cheetahs, a few elephants and other game. Sadly the rhino kept themselves hidden from our view although had been seen a day or two before.
Roger & Annabel run a tight ship and are delightful company. Annabel pours a mean G&T :-)"
Little Oliver's Camp
"Pleasant though somewhat limited in game"
The rooms were large and rustic but had plenty of hot water along with a bucket shower outside. They had a great station in each tent for battery charging and the food was the best we had on this trip.
After three nights, our guide decided to take us on a different road to "cheetah country" on our return to the airstrip. Quite why we hadn't been there before is a mystery!
Great elephant sightings and this was really the best thing going for the park. Huge herds of ellies and buffalo and whilst we saw lion on two occasions, very briefly, along with a leopard in a tree (barely recognisable), it was the elephants that were the main attraction. If you're happy sitting watching behaviour, rather than having a tick list, it's a good place to visit."
Great trip despite the incorrect marketing
Botswana between 28 Sep 2012 and 8 Oct 2012
Arranged By Megan Green
Duba Plains Camp
"Great but marketed incorrectly"
We had the best lion sightings ever, looking at the movement of various groups within the prides, lovely jackals, elephants, tsetsebes, and not an impala in sight!
The food was good and we had one barbeque out in the bush even though I mentioned to the manager, Lizzy, that a bush breakfast or brunch would be appreciated.
The tents are ok, huge beds, twin hand basins with wardrobe space behind where we found ourselves bumping into each other somehow. Warm water came through eventually."
Lovely spacious tent with instant hot water, fluffy towels, great outdoor sitting area. We didn't feel that the food was the best and was always a buffet so unless you're first up, we felt we were eating someone else's leftovers. The lighting in the dining area is poor of an evening and this should be addressed. Venison stew with bones isn't the easiest to eat without decent illumination.
We changed our guide after 24 hours and were very, very happy with our new guide. The usual lion, elephants, great sable, very good leopard sightings, ground hornbills, honey badger, wild cat etc and a pack of wild dogs we saw on three occasions. More than once we spent maybe two hours watching a herd of ellies so animal behaviour was great to watch.
We requested a full day game drive which was lovely to see areas of the park that aren't normally seen and had a lovely bush brunch. Sadly, despite a boma, we couldn't have dinner anywhere else other than the poorly lit table in the main area as they didn't have sufficient paraffin."
Concerning the lighting, the paraffin was the problem; a long truck strike effected the camps deliveries and we ran out of paraffin putting out some of the camps lights. We did burn extra candles, the only alternative to supplement the overhead lights, but clearly they werent as good as paraffin lanterns. Fortunately, the truck strike has finished and paraffin supplies are back to normal!
Excellent safari and many memorable moments
Zimbabwe and 1 other country between 2 Oct 2011 and 12 Oct 2011
In overall terms we had a really good time."
Arranged By Claire Scott
"Cape Grace review"
"Somalisa Camp review"
Food would have been given a "good" score but the kitchen was at the main site so the hot food was warm at best and the sorbet was a puddle. I understand that a new kitchen for Somalisa Acacia is planned. However, the recipes were good and Smart, our chef, passed one on to me which I plan to make and serve to my family - hot!
Whilst the huge herds of elephant and buffalo are incredible to see around Somalisa, the driving is limited in area so the same waterholes were driven to on a repetitive basis."
Kanga Bush Camp
"Kanga Bush Camp review"
Fisher, our wonderful guide, took us to the Zambezi at Mana Pools a couple of days for a change of location and the chance to see more game out in the open. We had a few lovely walks to get up close to waterbuck, elephants and a fish eagle. He was heavily armed in case of trouble, but kept us very safe and at no time did we feel threatened.
Kanga had the most beautiful bathrooms in the whole of Zimbabwe. Completely uncovered, a great shower and handbasin with a view to die for!"
Good time and odd time ...
Botswana between 4 Jul 2009 and 12 Jul 2009
Suggestions for improvements:
Maybe have more confidence in sending more tourists to Vic Falls ...?"
Victoria Falls Hotel
"Two good nights at Victoria Falls Hotel"
The Zimbabwe side of the falls was excellent and we felt totally safe. Just a shame that it was so quiet everywhere."
Lodge not featured by Expert Africa
"Excellent safari at Selina"
Whilst game wasn't plentiful during our time, the anticipation was always high because Marks (our guide) was first rate. Having said that, we saw wild dogs mating, watched wild dogs chase a kudu through a large herd of elephant, saw two lionesses chasing a kudu and the same two lionesses later chasing a warthog so we were kept on our toes the whole time.
Food was fantastic at all times. The tents were comfortable and we loved having a glass of sherry (decanter in the room) whilst sharing the granite bath talking about our game viewing that day.
The only minus was the leaking hot water bottles - on one night, both bottles leaked in our bed so sleep was difficult."
Linyanti Bush Camp
"An odd time at Linyanti"
Firstly we were delighted to be met by all the staff singing - in fact the service from the staff was excellent throughout. We were met by our host, Martin, and hostess, Bella - over a fruit juice David was asked to sign an indemnity form which he felt went too far as it absolved the camp from all responsibility even if they were negligent. We were then taken to our room (honeymoon suite as it was the only tent with a double bed) but had the worst view. After an hour or so we met for iced tea and cake and set out on our first game drive.
Our guide was Tati who, whilst knew the answer to every question, regularly saw game two or three seconds after we had spotted it and appeared deaf as a post and you had to repeat yourself three times! Game was very skittish and very sparse (although we accept that the unusual June rains contributed to this).
Over dinner the first evening, the five of us sat down - David, myself, Martin, Bella and Tati. We had a strong feeling that we were there to entertain them rather than the other way round and this feeling persisted. At no time did Martin initiate conversation and Tati only spoke when spoken to (which, I think was twice during the whole meal). Bella was chatty.
The game continued to be sparce and so Martin decided to come with us on a game drive with his camera. I counted 41 minutes before we saw a mammal. He spotted more than Tati, pointed out a couple of raptors and spotted a large group of water buck the other side of the river. On two drives, Tati took us into Chobe NP which had no more game and you couldn't go off-road. The NP also had many tourists on self drive holidays which made a mockery of the "exclusivity" of our Botswana holiday.
One morning he drove along the wide road to Kasane and stopped in the middle of the road for coffee (great views - with traffic!!), another day he drove on the Savuti road for about 50 minutes without seeing anything on four legs before David got fed up and Tati turned round for another 50 minutes. We then parked by the river and watched an elephant swim across the river, climb the bank, eat a few leaves before disappearing so the drive ended on a high.
Our final afternoon drive lifted the whole experience. I saw a group of vultures in the air and realised that they were circling quite low and dropping out of the sky. Tati wanted to see what was going on but was hesitant because of the density of the bush. David said he would stand and guide him through and with added confidence Tati became a bull elephant and what he couldn't run over, chopped down. Eventually we saw a relatively young elephant had been killed and there were eight lions having supper. A fantastic experience.
The following morning Martin and Bella decided to come and have a look too. Martin said virtually nothing during the whole trip but did take a few photos. I afterwards asked him whether he was cross that Tati had pushed so far into the bush as he'd said nothing the whole morning, but he confirmed to me that he wasn't cross since he doesn't interfere with the guide's job. We felt as if he and Bella were being tourists and that we were paying for their little jaunt.
We asked for dinner on our own for the last night and they excelled themselves giving us dinner in the boma. We had a lovely evening and, as usual, the staff were great and had gone to a lot of effort.
In summary the accommodation and staff service were exactly what we would hope for. However, neither the host nor the guide enabled us to feel fully comfortable during our time there. We do not feel we got value for money at Linyanti."
We relayed their comments to Beks Ndlovu, the owner of Linyanti Bush Camp. He was concerned to hear these comments about the guiding and the general management – as we know that he works hard to maintain high standards at his camps.
He has discussed this at length with the manager at LBC, and with the hostess, to address these issues and ensure that they don’t crop up again.
He also conveyed his personal apologies for a disappointing stay, and has made a very kind gesture to these regular Africa travellers – to help them enjoy their next trip even more.
Flintstones for a week
Zambia between 12 Nov 2007 and 20 Nov 2007
Arranged By Lucy Copson
Chongwe River House
"The Awesome Chongwe River House"
There was a good sized glass topped table in the living room along with a table and chairs on the deck by the pool for eating. The seating area in the living room was not the most comfortable for lounging but ok for flicking through one of the many books or writing up a diary. This was probably the only downside we had with the house.
Our hosts were Garth and Lindsey, who, sadly have now left. Lindsey created some innovative menus - even the porridge was served with whisky cream. An unusual start for 6.00am!!
It had rained twice by the time we arrived in the second week of November so game was perhaps a little harder to spot but Garth pulled out all the stops and despite the Lower Zambezi not having the variety of game as, say, the South Luangua, we weren't disappointed.
One of the biggest +s for us was the variation of activities at Chongwe River House. We were a party of five and, inevitably, some people were more comfortable doing one thing than another. One day, the five of us split into three groups, so my son and I went fishing on the Zambezi for tiger fish, my husband went for a canoe trip and my in-laws did a safari drive. It was all very flexible.
This was our fourth trip to Zambia and by far the best overall. Highly recommended."
It's a short distance from the airport, the rooms are comfortable and they serve a decent Tusker on the outside terrace and breakfast is fine."