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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs LK from SW London

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

2

Countries visited

2

Lodges stayed in

8

Excursions taken

0

My Oct 2013 trip

Zambia between 25 Oct 2013 and 2 Nov 2013

Trip rating: Good
"This was a really super holiday.

Ellie's guidance on camps was spot on.

My only grouse concerns the BA change of flight - see below."

Tena Tena

Tena Tena

"Amazing safari at Tena Tena"

2 nights Arrived 26 Oct 2013
"Luxury tents with comfortable beds, clean sheets and en suite. The tents are light and airy and with nothing much more than mosquito nets on the sides (optional thinker canvas at night), the 37 degree heat was not much of an issue for us. For us, this is the perfect safari experience, although be aware that you will probably be sharing your room with a few frogs and insects.

The camp is excellently run by Bertie, a Zambian, who is also an amazing guide. Bertie was ably assisted by Jessica, a young lady from UK. We liked the 'host' was African and had a genuine in depth knowledge of the country. Great idea to have staff names subtly embroidered on their shirts, so much better than pin on labels.
The food was good, given that you are in the middle of nowhere.

Our guide Nyambe was terrific and it is a superb area for game, especially lion."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Tafika

Tafika

"Amazing time at Tafika"

2 nights Arrived 28 Oct 2013
"We had a wonderful stay at Tafika. The camp is situated about 5 minutes outside the park, but this is not an issue, as the bush and animals continue beyond the gate. In spite of it being at the end of the dry season (late October/early November) there was a lot more water around than we had expected and Tafika has an attractive outlook over a river/riverbed.

The rooms are made of straw and open to the air at the bathroom end. This does allow insects etc quite easy access (easier than in a netted tent), although mosquito nets around the beds work well at night. We weren't troubled by this, but others should perhaps be aware. Otherwise, clean sheets, well equipped and everything worked well.

We were the only guests staying at the time and the Copinger family and others invoked were completely welcoming and charming - we even joined in the daughter's birthday celebrations. So nice to be hosted by Zambians with genuine long-standing knowledge of the country.

The microlite flight is an absolute must-do: you should have complete confidence in John as a pilot, he is very experienced and careful.

The guiding was excellent (Brian, part owner and …). Leopards all over the place. The pack of 19 wild dogs on the salt pans were mesmerising the BBC were filming Waiting for the rains next door to us!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Chongwe River Camp

Chongwe River Camp

"Chongwe River Camp"

3 nights Arrived 30 Oct 2013
"The guiding at Chongwe was excellent. Victor was a knowledgeable and sensitive guide, who helped us overcome our fears following unfortunate canoeing/walking experiences on a previous trip to Lower Zambeze (at another camp). Young Daniel was also very knowledgeable and has a nice manner.

The game was very good and we had some great sightings, although it is fair to say that the animals seemed more spaced out than in South Luangwa. Do try the full range of activities e.g. the gentle canoe trip down a channel off the Zambeze.

The Tetse flies were quite an issue for us here, particularly on one overcast morning. This was in spite of deet and peaceful night sprays; they bite through clothes, including thick socks. Not sure what to suggest (the guides say elephant dung lit in the 4 x 4 helps!), except I would recommend bringing some antihistamine cream and tablets.

Chongwe is in a very pretty spot with a nice outlook and the rooms were good. However, it was not really our sort of safari experience. One immediate disappointment was to see guests huddled over their phones and iPads in the reception area - this really does change the atmosphere and lands you straight back into the stressful 'civilised' world. If people have to have internet access on a safari holiday, how about giving them the equivalent of a smokers' room so they can do it away from other guests who want to continue their 'away from it all' experience. Chongwe also has some pretentions that did not feel appropriate e.g. towel-agami and a poem at bedtime - a bit naff really.

The food was good, lunches better than supper, with nice salads. But the house wine was absolutely appalling, worse than the cheapest plonk you might get on a student ski trip. It is served out of a decanter, but when my husband asked to see the bottle, he was shown a white sauvignon blanc bottle, with red wine inside! Sure, you can buy a better quality bottle of wine, but this is embarrassing and inappropriate with communal dining and at the price charged pn, should not be necessary

We had a mix up with our laundry - clothes were delivered to the wrong guests, suggesting that their systems need looking at.

This was not a restful camp. Even at breakfast, the set up lent itself to constant engagement in small talk. We are not anti-social people, but there are times when you just want to chill out and soak up the remoteness of the scenery. Many camps have an area where the seating allows this, but the Chongwe set up does not. To some extent, the atmosphere at camp is set by the hosts and whilst those at Chongwe were pleasant, they did not seem very at ease with themselves, the guests or indeed the bush. It somehow felt that we had arrived at a UK dinner party in Africa, which is not at all what we wanted. Perhaps it is just that this size and style and camp is not for us, we prefer a more restful, remote experience, also with hosts who have a more in depth knowledge and experience of the bush."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent

Zambia safari and Kaya Mawa

Zambia and 1 other country between 11 Jul 2008 and 23 Jul 2008

Trip rating: Excellent
"Fantastic- we had a wonderful time!

Anna's advice was bang on and I thought of her several times during the trip, remembering her enthusiasm and wanting to say how much I agreed!

Suggestions for improvemnet:

Tell your clients to take plenty of dollars. Sterling is no good. They need money for taxes in Malawi as well as in Zambia. And lots of money for tips, which were much more standard than we had been led to believe in the Guide."

Old Mondoro Bushcamp

Old Mondoro Bushcamp

"Old Mondoro review"

2 nights Arrived 12 Jul 2008
"Wonderful location, right on the Zambeze, with elephants trundling lazily through camp to drink in the river. Fantastic birds and altogether a great atmosphere. Also, very easy to get to - an easy 45 minute drive from Jerky airstrip, which made it a great place to start after our trasfer from the overnight plane.

Apart from the wonderful elephants, he game in this area was not good - impalas galore, but we did not see any cats. The night drives did produce some interesting owls though.

One worrying thing was that our scout appeared to have malaria and really looked very unwell on our walking safari; it felt like management did not take this very seriously - at one point I was told he was just being lazy. Compared to the Shenton camps we stayed at later, the management attitude to 'staff' appeared far less inclusive, which made us feel uncomfortable at times. The managers were very pleasant to the guests however.

I am a now completely converted to bushcamps and would encourage others to go to Mondoro."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Chiawa Camp

Chiawa Camp

"Chiawa Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 14 Jul 2008
"A delightful stay at Chiawa. Wonderful opportunity for canoeing down the Zambeze - if you have the nerve! Great guides too, although it might have been nice to have stayed with the same one throughout.

The game here was much better than at Old Mondoro, but not as good as at South Luangua."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Kaingo Camp

Kaingo Camp

"Kaingo Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 16 Jul 2008
"A long but interesting transfer from Mfuwe airport, passing many villages, markets and bicycles galore - a wonderful opportunity to glimpse Zambians going about their daily activities.

The game at South Luangua, both here and at Kaingo was amazing - just so many lions and leopards, we couldn't believe it! Also, far more variety of animals that at Lower Zambeze. We had a really fantastic guide, who stayed with us throughout our stay, including at the Bush Camp. This continuity worked well, compared to the previous camps we stayed at.

The camp was well located, but not as picturesque as on Lower Zambeze, hence good not excellent. The staff were all delightful, although the manageress maybe lacked some confidence and could have been more proactive in being a 'hostess'.

We preferred the timing and arrangement of meals at the previous camps - the late breakfast and lunch meant there was little 'downtime' and we ate far too much at the Shenton camps. Breakfast could be speeded up with more self-service eg for tea/coffee - if you are getting up at the crack of dawn, you want to get on with it!"
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Good
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Mwamba Bushcamp

Mwamba Bushcamp

"Mwamba Bush Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 18 Jul 2008
"Wow! What can I say - absolutely amazing bush camp - utterly enchanting! It felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. Really small, really intimate, with the nicest staff and atmosphere you could possibly imagine - truly unique! See above re our guide and game in this area - fantastic!

We saw everything we could possibly want and more. it actually became a joke, because whatever we asked for, our guide found! On the last evening, we joked with him that we wanted to see a leopard kill, with hyenas circling the leopard, and then lions coming after the lot of them - guess what - it happened!!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Kaya Mawa

Kaya Mawa

"Kaya Mawa review"

3 nights Arrived 20 Jul 2008
"A long haul from South Luangua to Kaya Mawa and an even longer haul back to the UK - 4 flights! But probably worthwhile for some R&R at the end of our safari. We were very pleased we had taken your advice and stayed for 3 nights not 2.

Wonderful island and location. Our room was amazing, set amongst the boulders on the beach. We were lucky that the next door room was not being used, so we were able to use their deck and loungers - otherwise it is a short but gruelling track to the beach. It might have felt a bit close to that room and potentially overlooked if it had not been vacant.

One thing that I would emphasise to future guests and probably also to management - the need to take a torch and some sturdy trainers. The path to the room is extremely hazardous and it was pitch black there until the moon came out - I would advise management to lend out torches if they want to avoid accidents and being sued. The trainers are a must for the beach which is really really sharp on the feet - and that is coming from someone brought up on the beach with feet as hardened as most Europeans.

The food was really really excellent, and healthy too."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

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