Travel reviews by Mr B from Hertfordshire
Total number of trips
Lodges stayed in
Rwanda and 1 other country between 4 Oct 2017 and 16 Oct 2017
Having spoken with several people who were trekking it seems to us that better briefing beforehand is required. With trekking up to 3000 metres you have to be physically fit and acclimatised which were not although of course I did not know at the time I was suffering with pneumonia. Comment was made that it's always best to do one trek before committing to another. Appreciate that could be a problem as permits often should be booked in advance. It's not unusual for people to abandon the trek part way and in my case the guide did mention (at the end) there was a thought that I might need to be stretchered off the mountain. Among the people I spoke with was an American lady doctor who said she had to give up on her trek but then again she should not really have been on it as she's asthmatic but no one told her how difficult it might be. Nurses at the hospital in Kigali said they often had patient referrals from the gorilla treks as many underestimate the difficult terrain involved.
It would seem there is a perception among a lot of people that seeing the gorillas in the wild is a trip for everyone. Don't believe it is and can be a lottery. At least we have experienced a meeting with gorillas but at some cost and now plenty of paperwork associated with the insurance claim for reimbursement of hospital fees and the non-refundable trek permit. Would advise would be visitors to seriously think about the risks involved."
We greatly appreciate this constructive feedback from one of our regular Africa travellers.
This idea of going on one trek before committing to the next is very interesting; we’d be delighted for any traveller to pay locally for their second trek. (We get no commission on treks, and sell them at cost to our travellers.) However, travellers would have to take the risk that the next day’s gorilla-trekking would be full. This would probably not be an issue during the quieter periods, but in peak season may be inevitable.
The strenuousness of the treks and the need for travellers to acclimatise to the altitude comes across loud and clear from these comments also. Hence, we’re busy reviewing what we write about the treks on our website, on our quotations for trips, and in our pre-departure information – so we make sure that we’re as clear as we possibly can be about how strenuous some people do find these treks at altitude.
Hotel des Mille Collines
"Hotel des Mille Collines review"
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge
"Mountain Gorilla View Lodge review"
Gorilla Trekking Safari
"Think very carefully about this activity"
7 Oct 2017 • Morning excursion
Hotel des Mille Collines
"Hotel des Mille Collines review"
Kenya and 2 other countries between 11 Dec 2016 and 28 Dec 2016
We were disappointed with Malawi for the reasons mentioned and also for the costs associated with Lilongwe airport. The actual internal flight departure tax is $7 per person and the external departure tax is $35 per person. Visa charge is $75 per person.
Considering the country is regarded as 'poor' and want to encourage tourism the Tourism Board should consider requesting the Government to reduce the fees involved. Suppose the UK equivalent is Air Passenger Duty (APD) which is £13 per person for flights of less than 2000 miles."
"Good hotel for short stay"
Kicheche Bush Camp
"A totally different experience"
"Good but no game!"
"Excellent is an under statement!"
Excellent trip - all ran to plan
Botswana and 1 other country between 3 Dec 2015 and 23 Dec 2015
At Xakanaxa airstrip (which incidentally is a new runway positioned a little further from the camps than the 'old' strip) we were very pleasantly surprised to see Banda, our requested guide for Camp Xakanaxa where has been based since last January, albeit we were due at Camp Moremi first. Apparently in agreement with the D&DS marketing manager (regret don't know his name and was not aware he was the South African chap who wished us well as he leaving for the plane we arrived on) we were allocated Banda for the whole of our 5 night stay on an exclusive basis. This is an amazing example of D&DS customer service for which we are truly grateful. If you are aware of the chap's name please let me know and I will send a thank-you e-mail. Thanks should also be extended to all the D&DS staff including Setch and staff at Suvute and Albert (who was 'care-taking' between Moremi and Xakanaxa) and all the staff.
We will undoubtedly return to Nkwali, Savute and delta camps again - don't know when. However in future we will try to avoid Jo'burg airport if only due to the totally inefficient and unfriendly staff at passport control. It takes ages to be processed. Never enough staff on duty. As you maybe aware, there are 2 sections, one deals with SA residents, the other all non-SA passengers.
There are some 25 (maybe more) passport control booths on the non-SA section. Less than half were being manned on our first arrival and only 7 when we arrived form Maun. Coupled with the delays occurring to some families, presumably associated with the recently introduced regulations and paperwork required for people travelling with children, the delays are totally unacceptable. We were directed to stand in a queue behind a family which we were already aware had processing problems and had to wait 20 minutes while they continued to try and resolve without any apparent success so we asked to move and were eventually directed to stand in another queue. There is no efficient management system in place, it's a shambles.
It is not surprising that Lusaka airport is building a new terminal (by the Chinese!) and Maun wants to expand so that passengers can fly direct rather than via Jo'burg which attracts so much criticism. BA used to fly direct to Lusaka but apparently no more. We met people who flew with Emirates via Dubai so for the future it's worth considering another carrier. There may be others."
Arranged By Megan Green
"What a retreat!"
Stanley Safari Lodge
"Stanley Safari Lodge review"
Muchenje Safari Lodge
"Good but hard going!"
Savute Safari Lodge
"D&DS never fail to impress"
"As good as ever!"
Namibia and 1 other country between 6 Dec 2014 and 26 Dec 2014
Overall thought the choice and quality of food was disappointing - in some cases it may have been the lack of guests which prevented a buffet style choice but was often on offer was often restricted and poor quality - naturally game was included on most menus and the only alternative was 'vegetarian' which was mainly the same vegetables which were being used for the main course. Rice seemed to be the main starch available. There was also a lack of detailed information given on how the food was presented eg. broccoli was a main veg but it often came with a blue cheese on it and meat often had a sauce poured on it. Fortunately we made up for this with some excellent meals in Cape Town and the High Tea at the Cape Grace Hotel is highly recommended!
This was our first trip to Namibia which has some spectacular scenery and good game viewing but don't think we will be keen to return except perhaps to Etosha. We like to regard ourselves as fairly seasoned travellers but perhaps our expectations were too high - accommodation was generally good but food disappointing."
Arranged By Tracy Lederer
"OK but not great"
Kulala Desert Lodge
"Better than expected"
Onguma Tented Camp
"Great spot but not much to do!"
Okonjima Plains Camp