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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs I from Dorset

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

2

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

8

Excursions taken

0

Another Brilliant Safari to Tanzania

Tanzania between 21 Sep 2016 and 4 Oct 2016

Trip rating: Excellent
"Following a brilliant first safari last year to two camps in southern Tanzania we returned to explore northern Tanzania. We thought that this trip would not have the wow factor of a first safari but nevertheless Liz put together a fantastic itinerary and we had an amazing time yet again. The diversity of the parks and camps we visited made the trip so interesting.

We stayed at four camps all run by Asilia and all the flights and changeovers went like a dream, perfect.

At all four camps the service and attention we received was first class and the staff and guides were very friendly and courteous and committed to making our trip a memorable experience. I would certainly recommend Asilia camps.

Although it was nice to savour the facilities of the two luxury camps (Highlands and Sayari) we did prefer the character of the two more rustic camps (Oliver’s and Namiri Plains.

Many thanks to Expert Africa and Liz for another brilliant safari."

Arranged By Elizabeth Chapman


Kia Lodge

Kia Lodge

"Comfortable overnight stay"

1 night Arrived 21 Sep 2016
"We stayed at Kia Lodge for one night following our flights from the UK. The Lodge is conveniently located a few minutes drive from Kilimanjaro airport.

The accommodation is in individual huts spread throughout the gardens. The rooms were clean and tidy with a comfortable bed and we had a good nights sleep. There was plenty of hot water for the shower although the water pressure could have been better.

We sat outside the restaurant for a very good breakfast the following morning watched by several Superb Starlings. There was a good selection of food available.

The service throughout our short stay was excellent.

There is a swimming pool and a bar at the lodge but we did not have the time to sample these facilities.

Would recommend for an overnight stopover."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Oliver's Camp

Oliver's Camp

"Great Start to Safari"

3 nights Arrived 22 Sep 2016
"Oliver's was our first camp on this our second safari to Tanzania, organised by Expert Africa. We stayed here 3 nights and had a wonderful time.

We were met at Kuro airstrip by our camp guide Mustafa in an open sided Toyota Land Cruiser. On the extended drive from the airstrip to the camp we saw plenty of game including a leopard in a tree with its kill (impala?) and three young lions, again with a kill. We also had lunch ourselves!

On arrival at the camp we were warmly welcomed by Jacky, the manager, and her assistant Dickson. Throughout our stay the service from Jacky and her staff was excellent.

Our tent was comfortable with a large bed and had great views over the park. There was a flush toilet and both an indoor and an outdoor shower.

Dinner was communal and was preceded by drinks and chat around the camp fire. The food was good and plentiful although there was no choice.

We had a very interesting walking safari during which we were accompanied by an armed guide and an armed ranger.
We also did games drives and a night drive with our guide Mustafa who was excellent. We saw plenty of game, including monkey, mongoose, many lion, leopard, lots of elephant, large herds of zebra, wildebeest and buffalo, giraffe, kudu, water buck, reedbuck, dik dik (on the veranda of our tent), warthog, hyaena, jackal, ostrich, hippo and many beautiful birds. On the night drive we saw lots of nocturnal animals including honey badger, genet cat, owls, spring hare and white tailed mongoose.

Overall, a great camp set in a great National Park."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
The Highlands

The Highlands

"Interesting Domed Camp"

3 nights Arrived 25 Sep 2016
"The Highlands was the second camp we visited on our Tanzanian safari, organised by Expert Africa, we stayed 3 nights.

Following our flight from Tarangire to Lake Manyara airstrip we were met by our camp guide Lenga. We had a drive of about an hour (through small towns and villages) to the gated entrance to Ngorongoro Conservation Area and a further drive of an hour and a half to the Highlands camp. On the journey up to the crater rim a leopard ran across the road just in front of our jeep and disappeared into the undergrowth (what a start!). The last half an hour or so of our journey was on a very rough track which made for an interesting ride!

We arrived at the camp late afternoon and were welcomed with warm flannels to refresh ourselves. We were briefed by the camp manager Victor who was assisted in the management of the camp by Freddie and John. The service we received during our stay from both the management and staff was excellent.

Our accommodation was a very large domed ‘tent’ with a big picture window and terrace overlooking the valley with many colourful birds flying from tree to tree. The tent was very well appointed with a large bed and a separate bathroom with twin showers and wash basins and a flush toilet. There was a large wood burning stove in the bedroom to keep the dome warm in the cold evenings. Unfortunately the fire burned itself out overnight so it was cold in the dome in the morning.

Pre dinner drinks were available in the bar which was warmed by its own wood burner. The communal dinner was served in the large dining room. There was a choice of food, which was presented well and tasted even better. Interesting over-dinner discussions on Brexit and the U.S. election!

After a good breakfast on our first day we set off with our guide Lenga for a day long visit to the Ngorongoro Crater. The journey time to the crater floor is over an hour passing by many Maasai settlements. In the crater we saw a good selection of wildlife with some great viewing of lions and a very distant viewing of two rhinos. Lenga was a very knowledgeable guide and a good companion for the day. The crater is very busy with lots of other vehicles vying for a prime location to view the wildlife; this can compromise good photo opportunities.

On the morning of our second day we went to Empakaai Crater to see the flamingos. As well as our guide we were also accompanied by an armed ranger for the trek down to the crater floor. It was an hour’s drive from the camp to the top of the crater and about a 45 minute walk (watched by monkeys) to the soda lake at the bottom of the crater. There were plenty of Flamingos at the lake but they kept their distance when approached. The trek back to the top of the crater was quite steep in places and took about an hour and a quarter. It was a worthwhile excursion with picturesque scenery and better viewing of the flamingos than at Ngorongoro crater.

Later in the afternoon we went to a Maasai boma for a ‘cultural visit’. Our guide Lenga was dressed in his Maasai attire rather than his camp uniform and he was able to give us a lot of information about Maasai life. We felt it was a very authentic visit and not at all staged.

Although the Highlands is a very upmarket camp there are some drawbacks. Being at an altitude of 2700+ metres it does get cold quite quickly once the sun goes down and first thing in the morning. Be prepared and take plenty of layers. Also, the thin air at that altitude may have an impact as it is quite a long uphill walk from the domes to the camp amenities, take it easy and don’t rush."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Namiri Plains Camp

Namiri Plains Camp

"Desolate and wild - loved it"

3 nights Arrived 28 Sep 2016
"Namiri Plains was the third camp on this our second safari to Tanzania organised by Expert Africa. We stayed here 3 nights and thoroughly enjoyed our stay.

We flew into Seronera airstrip and we were met by our camp guide Emmanuel in an open sided Toyota Land Cruiser. We had lunch at the airstrip while Emmanuel sorted out the paperwork for entry into the park.

The camp is about an hour and a half from the airstrip so we extended the ride to about 3 hours and did our first game drive. It was very eventful. As well as the usual zebra and wildebeest we saw our first cheetah, a lion kill (young buffalo) and lions mating, a great start!

On arrival at camp we were greeted by Diana the camp manager. The camp is very remote and definitely had a wild feel. All the staff at the camp were very friendly and gave excellent service.

Our tent was large with a really comfortable bed and had great views of the wilderness. There was a flush toilet and both an indoor and an outdoor shower. Amazing having a late afternoon shower and watching the elephants stroll by.

Before dinner it was drinks around the camp fire. One evening we had drinks in the lounge whilst we were given an interesting talk by Dennis from the Cheetah Conservancy project. Dinner was taken in a large mess tent with plenty of chat about the day’s viewings or Donald v Hilary. The food was excellent although there was no choice.

At night you could hear the lions roaring in the distance and other wildlife making the calls. One evening we had two male elephants walking within a few yards of our tent looking for the tastiest grass.

On our first day we did morning and afternoon game drives with a great lunch between. The landscape is very bleak with wide area of dry, brown savannah and rocky outcrops (kopjes). We saw cheetah (mother and two cubs) and lion (three squabbling over a warthog kill) along with elephant, hyrax, hyaena, Grant’s gazelle, ostrich, topi and steinbok.

Our guide, Emmanuel, thought we would get better game viewing if we travelled further north where the rains had started so the following day we did an all day safari taking a packed lunch with us. Well, we had a great day, we had 3 cheetah sightings plus leopard, numerous lions, jackal, dik dik, ostrich dancing and mating, hippo, zebra, wildebeest, monitor lizard, eland, hyaena, giraffe, buffalo, warthog and many birds. On the journey back to the airstrip on our last day we passed two lions lazing in the road and had a further two cheetah sightings.

Emmanuel was a great guide, he was knowledgeable and went the extra mile to give us great game viewing.

This is a great place to see cheetah and lion particularly, but lots of other game as well. We really enjoyed the vibe of Namiri Plains, an excellent camp."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Sayari Camp

Sayari Camp

"Great Camp and Great Game Viewing"

3 nights Arrived 1 Oct 2016
"Sayari camp in the northern Serengeti was a fourth and final camp on our northern Tanzania safari, organised by Expert Africa. Our 3 nights here was a fantastic finale to an amazing trip.

We arrived at Kogatende airstrip after a short flight from Seronera in the central Serengeti. We were met at the airstrip by our guide Lucas. On the drive to the camp as well as seeing elephant and giraffe we witnessed our first wildebeest crossing of the Mara River. The wildebeest were returning south to the Serengeti from the Maasai Mara, unfortunately one became lunch for a waiting crocodile.

On arrival at the camp we were warmly welcomed by Jen, the manager. Sayari camp has 15 ‘tents’ but is in fact run as two separate entities one of nine tents and the second with six tents. We stayed in the larger camp which was managed by Jen and her husband Richard assisted by Germana. Each camp has its own dining facility and lounge but a pool is shared by both camps. Service at the camp was impeccable and both management and staff were extremely friendly and accommodating, nothing was too much trouble.

The tents are luxuriously appointed with sliding glass doors leading to a large verandah with views towards the Mara River and Kenya. They are well spread out in the camp and hence very private but quite a long way from the camp facilities. This is not a problem as the guide will pick you up from the tent in the morning and there is a ‘taxi service’ in the evening to take you to and from the dining room.

The food at all the meals was excellent with a good choice and was always served with a smile.

Our guide, Lucas, was brilliant; it was very enjoyable spending the day with him. We did four game drives with Lucas and had some wonderful sightings including three more wildebeest crossings. On one game drive we crossed the Mara River and drove to the Kenyan border and stood one foot in Tanzania and one in Kenya. Although we did not find the elusive rhino we saw plenty of all three of the big cats, including one pride of 17 lions, plus buffalo, wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, elephant, warthog, hyaena, jackal, topi, hartebeest, eland, klipspringer, impala, oribi, dik dik, baboon, mongoose, steinbok, gazelle, hyrax, Nile monitor lizard, crocodile and hippo.

The northern Serengeti is a fantastic place to see lots of different wildlife, although it is busy (many other vehicles) at the migration crossing places it is much quieter away from the river. A great luxurious camp set in a wonderful location."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

First Safari - Brilliant

Tanzania between 1 Oct 2015 and 15 Oct 2015

Trip rating: Excellent
"This was our first safari so we were a bit apprehensive as we really did not know what to expect. But Expert Africa came up trumps and our trip was brilliant, just brilliant.

We were concerned about all the bits (flights, transfers and accommodation) fitting together, but it went like clockwork.

Impala Camp in Selous and Kwihala in Ruaha were perfect, just what we wanted; and the laid-back Pole Pole was the icing on the cake.

Many thanks to Liz for putting our trip together.

Our only problem now is matching it next year!!!"

Arranged By Elizabeth Chapman


Selous Impala Camp

Selous Impala Camp

"Perfect Start to our First Safari"

4 nights Arrived 2 Oct 2015
"Our 4 night stay at Impala camp was a perfect start to our first safari.

The service at the camp was impeccable; we were made to feel ‘special’ by all the staff at the camp. The camp had a very relaxed atmosphere.

We were met at Mtemere airstrip and given a warm welcome (with a drink and a snack) by our guide Andrew, before our transfer to the camp where we welcomed by the camp manager (Chania).

Our accommodation (tent 6) was of a good standard with a large bed and ensuite shower and WC. There was a 3 pin socket available to charge electronic items. The tent was located on a raised wooden platform with a large verandah overlooking the river from where we able to see hippos and various birds. We had an early morning visit from a couple of Black-faced Vervet Monkeys hoping to share in our tea and cookies.

The food served for lunch and dinner was excellent. Both lunch and dinner were 3 courses with a choice of main dish at dinner. Be wary of the bush babies and genet who will happily share your food! Our waiter Lowassa was smashing, very friendly and informative. Before dinner we gathered round a campfire for drinks (reasonably priced) and a chat with the other guests. Breakfast was usually taken during the morning game drive; tables and chairs were set-up under the shade of a tree and the food (juice, cereals, egg, bacon, sausage, bread, fruit and tea/coffee) was shared with our guide and driver. You certainly will not go hungry on safari. The ‘facilities’ could be found behind a close-by tree!

During our stay we did game drives (morning and evening), evening boat trips and a morning walking safari. Our guide Andrew and driver Rajabu were excellent. Andrew was extremely well informed and shared his knowledge with us, he was also very enthusiastic about guiding. Rajabu was a great driver and we felt very secure whilst being driven about the bumpy terrain, his ability to spot animals was amazing. We were lucky in that the camp was not full and we did not have to share on our game drives or boat safaris. We were not overly bothered by flies or mosquitoes at the camp or when out on the drives.

On the boat trips we saw Hippo, Crocodile, Nile Monitor Lizard, Waterbuck, Elephant, Buffalo, Black-faced Vervet Monkey and many birds including Kingfishers, Bee-eaters, African Fish Eagle, African Wattled Plover and various Egret, Stork and Heron.

We saw plenty of game on our drives including Impala, Giraffe, Zebra, Warthog, Bush Pig, Baboon, Greater Kudu, Hippo, Colobus Monkey, Helmeted Guineafowl, Lion, Buffalo, Wildebeest, Hartebeest, Elephant, Bushbuck, Spotted Hyena and last but not least a Leopard (How Rajabu spotted it hidden in a tree was remarkable) and many colourful birds. A lot of the game, particularly the Impala and Wildebeest, were very skittish, but the lions were very laid back. We were able to spend as much time as we wanted to watch the animals and take photos with no pressure to move on.

On the walking safari we were accompanied by an armed ranger and Masai warrior. We did not meet any dangerous animals but it was nice to know they were there. On the walk we investigated various skulls and poo. Andrew also identified the tracks we came across and explained the basic differences between the prints of the cats and dog’. We saw Giraffe and a Martial Eagle.

At the end of our last boat trip we had a ‘special surprise’ when we stopped at the side of the river where a table had been set-up with a bottle of Fizz and snacks. We relaxed and sat watching the sun set over the river. A nice touch.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Impala Camp and have no reservations in recommending the camp and also Selous Reserve as a Safari destination."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kwihala Camp

Kwihala Camp

"Fantastic Camp in Ruaha"

4 nights Arrived 6 Oct 2015
"We came to Kwihala for 4 nights as the second stop on our first safari. Our first camp in Selous had set a high standard, but I have to say that Kwihala maintained that standard.

Once again we were very impressed with the level of service throughout the camp.

On arrival we were welcomed by Tam, the manager, and given a drink and a cool towel to refresh ourselves.

After a briefing with Tam we were shown to our tent which was enormous. The bed was super large and we also had a flush loo and a bucket shower. The shower was prepared twice a day (warm at lunch time and hot for the evening) but you could request extra water at other times if required. There were 2 useful electric sockets for charging camera batteries etc.

Lunch and dinner were communal, with everyone, including the manager Tam and at least one guide, seated at a large table. The food was extremely good and plentiful. Lunch was a buffet where you able to help yourself to whatever you fancied. Pre-dinner drink (most are complementary) and nibbles were available around the camp fire and the chef would come and describe the menu before dinner was served. As per our previous camp breakfast was served on the morning game drive, after selecting a spot under a shady tree a blanket was thrown over the bonnet of the Land Rover and food (including cereals, muffins, eggs, bacon, bread and fruit) and drinks (juice, tea and coffee) appeared from the picnic bag.

Our trip was at the end of the dry season and the rivers were empty, so no boat safaris. We spent most our time doing game drives but did do a walking safari one morning and also a night drive. Our guide was Hamsa and we sometimes had Noel, a trainee guide, as our spotter. The wildlife was scarcer close to the camp than in Selous and had to be found. Hamsa was a great guide and used his knowledge of the area and guiding and tracking skills to ensure we found ample game. Although not as plentiful there was a greater variety of wildlife and the animals were not skittish so we able to get much closer to watch and photograph them. During the night at the camp we could hear Hyenas and Lions in the distance and were woken very early one morning when a small group of elephants passed within a few metres of our tent.

On the day game drives Hamsa found lions every day and we had 2 great sightings of leopard, one laying on the ground and the other in a tree. A highlight was a mother lion and her 3 cubs, the mother was dozing and the three cubs were playing in the grass beside her - beautiful! It was also fascinating watching the elephants dig holes with their enormous feet in the sandy river bed to find water. We also saw Impala, Giraffe, Tree Hyrax, Spotted Hyena, Greater and Lesser Kudu, Baboon, Dik Dik, Mongoose, Zebra, Black faced Vervet Monkey, Ostrich, Buffalo (a herd of about 500), Hippo, Warthog, Savannah Monitor Lizard, and Black Backed Jackal. There were also plenty of colourful birds. The early morning game drives started at 06:00 with hot water bottles and blankets available to counter the chill air when driving in the open fronted (no windscreen) Land Rover, a fleece could be useful.

An armed national park ranger and an armed guide escorted us on the safari walk. We saw a Pearl Spotted Owlet, Giraffe and followed some Elephants for a while. We saw Lion, Leopard and Hyena tracks and found various colourful feathers and a porcupine quill. Investigated more poo and cut open and tasted the fruit of a Baobab tree. Lorenzo our armed guide spotted a leopard with a Hyrax in its mouth. Unfortunately we startled the Leopard and by the time we managed to focus on it, the it was running off into the long grass, having dropped the lucky Hyrax, and we only managed a fleeting glimpse. It was a very interesting morning.

The park ranger also escorted on our night drive. Noel drove the Land Rover, Hamsa manned the spotlight and Chris (the ranger) had a very bright torch. Our first spot was a Spotted Eagle Owl in a tree followed by a Scrub Hare with enormous ears. We also saw a Hyena, Banded Mongoose, Genet, Bush Baby and a Hippo. The highlight was a leopard which we first saw on the road and followed in the long grass. Hamsa was able to keep it in the spotlight beam enabling us to take photos. A great night.

On the day of our departure we opted for an early start and a final game drive on our way to the airstrip. What a good decision, we found a cheetah and managed to follow it for about 40 minutes; what a bonus!!!

Great camp, great people, great service, great food, great guides and great wildlife, go to Ruaha, stay at Kwihala Camp, you will not be disappointed."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Pole Pole

Pole Pole

"Wonderful place to relax"

5 nights Arrived 10 Oct 2015
"We stayed at Pole Pole for 5 nights after Safaris in Selous and Ruaha.

We wanted somewhere to relax and recuperate after the rigours of 8 days on safari and what a great choice this was.

Everything about Pole Pole was excellent, the accommodation, the staff, the service, the food and the location.
We were made to feel very welcome on our arrival by Marina, the manager. We shown round the resort and taken to our Bungalow (Number 1).

The bungalow was a wooden construction with a thatched roof and sides. It was a good size and included a separate en-suite facility with two hand basins, shower, flush WC and even a bidet plus complementary toiletries. The bed was large and covered with a substantial mosquito net. A large wooden verandah overlooked the palm trees in the garden with views of the beach and bay towards Chole Island. On the verandah there were a couple a chairs and small table plus a day bed (just big enough for 2) with a mosquito net – perfect for an afternoon snooze.

The pace at Pole Pole is slow and relaxed. Early morning tea/coffee was delivered to our room at our request. Meal times were flexible. There was a good choice of goodies available for breakfast including fruit, pancakes, muffins, yogurt, eggs, bacon, tomatoes and toast along with fruit juice, teas and coffee. Lunch was a fixed 3 course and dinner 4 courses with a choice of main course (usually fish or meat of some sort). The quality of our meals was always excellent as was the service in the restaurant; the waiting staff were attentive, efficient and friendly.

At about 6pm each evening a waiter arrived at our door to take our order for a ’Sun downer’ to enjoy on the verandah as the sun set, watching the masses of bats fly across the sky from their roost on Chole to feed on Mafia.

Over pre dinner drinks in the bar David from ‘Mafia Island Diving’ would discuss the excursions that were available the following day. We did a couple of snorkelling trips (saw a Whale Shark) and a boat trip to see the ruins on one of the other islands. The trips were well organised, the snorkelling was great, the boat trip was enjoyable but the ruins were a bit disappointing.

Many thanks to Marina, Mussa and their team for making our stay at Pole Pole so memorable."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

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