Travel reviews by A&M from London
Total number of trips
Lodges stayed in
A short relax near the falls
Zambia between 23 Jun 2016 and 26 Jun 2016
Our first choice was a different lodge but it was fully booked and we could not be flexible.
We are looking forward to our next trip!"
Wild and luxurious
Tanzania between 10 Jan 2015 and 27 Jan 2015
Ellie is simply a star! She knows exactly what we like and she is always great at giving suggestions but also at listening to my endless questions and thousands of email- I know I am hard work and demanding but so far Ellie managed to match and exceed our expectations, thanks a lot!!
Everything worked well and all the connections and transfers were all perfect as always. What more can I say? Thank you once more!
Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:
Just a couple of small suggestions....so not to lose my reputation of being a "pain in the neck" (self declared).
It would be good to give more emphasis on the local projects that camps run so that future guests can choose to help and perhaps bring something (I say this because we brought some supplies to the Katumbi clinic but the other two guests at greystoke were not aware of the possibility of doing so. They did not book through EA so perhaps my suggestions should be forwarded to the camps).
It would be good to add some price for each lodge/camp to give an approximate idea of prices (as some of your competitors do...without naming names...) and to give a break down in the quote for each accommodation/flight/transport etc, but maybe this would interest only myself."
"A different lodge - in a nice way!"
We realised there had been a small misunderstanding about walking into the Ngurdoto Crater as we were told by EA that we needed to pay for it directly to the lodge. Sabrina told us that this was not the case and we would have needed to book it a month in advance. The fact that we wanted to do a walk every day also did not appeared to be registered. We were glad we followed the basic rule of trying to sort things out on the spot so we asked Sabrina to have a chat and we did. By the end of the chat she understood exactly what we wanted to do and proceeded to re-arrange our activities to match our requests. This showed a great will to please us on her part and we appreciated it a lot! We then spent our 3 days there walking to the village, to the Meru Crater and Ngurdoto Crater rim (all highly recommended: the forest walk on the slope of Meru reminds you of the forest in the Avatars movies, it is just perfect and so beautiful and peaceful). We also had a couple of picnic lunches packed for us and Clinton always chose a great spot for lunch. The Momella lakes are also very pretty and worth a visit for the birds - not only the flamingos).
The lodge itself is a beautiful place with nice large bedrooms and luxurious bathrooms and a view. We were in room 9 facing Kilimanjaro (amazing sunrises) and had giraffes walking in front of our window in the morning! There is a beautiful deck for just relaxing or having a sundowner, always surrounded by buffalos. We liked the communal dinner tables and we met the owners of the lodge and enjoyed the company of other guests. Food was very good.
I almost forgot: there was a blackout once (generator broke down) and Sabrina and the other lady manager (sorry not sure about her name) were so worried about us not having electricity....despite the fact that we told them we could do with a shower but also survive without they went the extra mile for us. They even send us to a nearby room for showers so we could keep "our" hot water for later! They then organized a candle lit dinner and a star gazing after dinner, which was great fun - although the super efficient staff managed to fix the generator before we even finished our dinner. A nice touch was for them to thank the person in front of the dinner table so we could clap him. The place has a family feel and every member of the staff was smiling and efficient and kind; we loved them all!
A small comment: Hatari lodge sponsors a few local projects and it would good if this was somehow more emphasised on EA notes/websites and guest could possibly bring something ( or join the pack for a purpose lists perhaps)."
"The legend of....a perfect wild jugle"
It would be too long to describe our 4 days experience there so I will try and stick to the main points...those chimps are just amazing!! We were so lucky (Mwiga our super expert super funny super friendly guide nicknamed us the "lucky group") to see the chimps during the three guided walks, plus once during our forest walk just behind camp!! We had the chance to see them grooming, resting, hunting a monkey, fishing for ants, shouting at us to warn us of a snake....Only one day we walked 45 minutes, otherwise it was just a 15 minutes stroll. Apparently it was the season and our luck.
We went to visit the Katumbi village (clinic and school sponsored by Nomad) and we felt it was good to give a little back.
We went out on the dhow in the afternoon and enjoyed the relaxing feeling of the camp. We played with "the bird" and watched monkeys and warthogs.
All meals are communal and we really liked having the chance to chat to Mark and the other guests. At sundown the guides also joined us for a chat and that was always a great time too.
the bandas (not sure hot to call them) are great and so is the food- a mystery considering their location!
In a nutshell we felt privileged to be there and would recommend highly recommend it !"
"A week on the wild side"
We had met Moli and Noelle during a previous trip to Ruaha and since we learnt they opened their own little mobile camp we had wanted to go back and so we finally did!! We immediately thought we should have stayed longer than one week!
Their concept is very simple: a small camp that gives you the freedom of walking where and when and how long you want and makes you feel you are staying with old friends. Combine this with a legendary guide (could be a lecturer) and a fantastic hostess/chef and Kichaka comes straight out of your dreams.
The camp is basic-ish (not luxurious but with everything you need from the vuguvugu shower to toiletries and so on) and mobile so its location can change and you get to explore parts of the park that are completely void of other people...it feels amazing! The animals are curious of you and mostly not overly skittish considering you are on foot. We saw probably a thousand elephants - no I am not joking- lesser kudus, elands, zebras, giraffes, baboons (a troop of them followed us on a river bed for about an hour carefully keeping a distance but checking on us), hyraxes, jackals, mongooses, all kind of birds in great numbers.
One of the most moving experience was walking elephants and watching them without being noticed...there are no words to describe the feeling you just have to be there to understand! Opposite to our previous trip to Ruaha we saw no lions but this is what it is during the green season - this did not bother us at all but may be worth mentioning in case someone expects to see them. It was also a bit hot and humid (as expected but we had to take it easy a couple of afternoon)- again not a criticism but a note for future traveller: the fact that you can walk 5-6 hours in UK does not mean you do not feel the heat there :)
We did 2 nights fly camp and we loved it as we could walk a different area. Moli always makes sure that each walk is done in a new area and oh! we want to film Moli talking about the termite mount and make a documentary out of it! Every day is a new adventure that always finishes with a nice shower, a drink in front of the fire and a delicious dinner!
So to sum it up spending a week with a walking encyclopaedia - but a fun one - and a lovely enthusiastic friendly super hostess in an area of a remote park all for ourselves is...one of the best experience in a lifetime!
All the member of the staff, starting from Salum, are always fun and welcoming and just great - asante sana marafiki! I almost forgot every wish is possible at Kichaka: Noelle and Moli organized a surprise bush lunch for our anniversary, all in secret from my partner and the surprise was just great! Asante tena!"
Hyatt Regency in Dar
We had a "club room" with access to the club lounge - this was a surprise so thanks Ellie! Our room had a harbour view and a magnificent bathroom. The whole hotel is a 5 stars. All the member of the staff were good and efficient. The pool was a bonus.
Excellent for our last night before the long flight back home."
Lodge not featured by Expert Africa
The emerald trip
Zambia and 1 other country between 4 Mar 2011 and 19 Mar 2011
This was a longer trip (2 weeks) visiting two Countries and several places. This involved a lot of organization and we are once again impressed by how well every little details is sorted in advance. We spent a lot of time asking Ellie a million questions and debating about options and she never ever gets tired of answering my emails...and usually in a matter of hours if not minutes! Every suggestion she gives us is great.
Having been to Tanzania previously in June, we wanted to see different places and the green season. The landscape is fantastic and as expected it is a bit harder to see animals, but we still saw a lot. Of course this is not the best season for walks, as it is a bit hot (at least for us) and some roads and area are not accessible or not safe for walking but we did enjoy morning walks. The bonus is there are very few people and you have the places for yourself.
The game behaviour is very different in South Luangwa and Hwange: in SL they are almost tame, for example impala are in the middle of the road and do not move away from you, while in Hwange they are more skittish. On the other hand Hwange feels a lot wilder (even if they created artificial waterholes). It is good to see different places and landscapes and their contrasts.
We got the biggest safari bug and we are already dreaming about another trip, with Expert Africa of course!
As a last comment I would like to add that everywhere we went everyone (including a couple of tour operator from Australia) spoke highly of the Expert Africa team, not surprisingly!
Thanks a million!
Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:
No matter how hard I think I cannot find any suggestion- no need to improve!"
"Afternoon tea with baboons!"
As you walk around the grounds you meet monitor lizards and monkeys as well, which is great.
One night we were woken by a loud noise of branches being broken. We looked out of our window and at first we saw just darkness. I kept thinking this noise must have been from an elephant. We looked harder and realised that the whole "darkness" was in fact the elephant standing less than a meter away from the window. We watched until he finished his dinner and he then turn around and we were almost face-to-face with him (he was so close that he gently brushed the wall turning around). This was amazing, even at 3 am!
Our guide Brian was great and friendly and he took us around by car and on foot (at our request) even if this was not the best time for walks. I wanted to see "babies" and I did! Baby zebra, giraffe, puku, elephant, monkeys, baboon....endless list!
In a drive we stopped to watch an elephant trying to protect her baby from an unseen (by us) threat; it was really interesting as she was backing into the thick bushes pushing the baby behind her. We watched for a while but we could not see whom she was so scared of. Later on the same drive we (ehm... the guides of course) spotted a leopard on a tree quite near to the car. We watched as he slowly climbed down, stopped for a moment looking directly at us between two branches (wonderful picture!) and then gently moved away. We were quite excited as this was our best leopard sight. Unfortunately that was also the evening when a surprise champagne sundowner had been set up for us on the river and....we were late! By the time we got to the spot the sun was gone and the poor member of the staff had been waiting for us for a long time. Brian agreed with us that a sundowner can be organized at any time and you cannot ignore a leopard....
These are just a couple of details as it is impossible to describe every day in details.
Another very good idea is that at NCS they keep your group with the same guide. When we came back from Kakuli Brian was with us again, welcoming us as old friends. They also send out one car for each group (on our last day they had 3 cars out, despite there were only 7 people).
Staff and service were great. Our room , the bar/restaurant and the pool were all good. Food was plenty and very good. We liked the buffet brunch so you can have as little or as much as you like. They catered for my vegetarian menus really well.
This is a lodge and not very remote, but we knew how it was in advance. Being outside the main gate I can imagine how busy it can become in the dry season. On the other hand being close to the local village allows members of the staff to go home when off duty and probably enriches the local community as well."
"Beautiful bushcamp on the river"
Being the green season we were taken to Kakuli by boat and we were a little anxious to be so close to all those hippos (millions of them probably!) but the landscape was so beautiful that we soon relaxed.
We like walking and Simon took us for a walk every morning (escorted by Shimek a scout from the park). We saw thousands of birds and lots of mammals as well. One day we stopped for a rest and watched a giraffe with her baby standing about 100 metres from us. unexpectedly (for us) they did not move for quite a long time and simply kept an eye on us. Another day we met a hippo in a small pond hidden by the bushes, this was quite amazing and we did not feel unsafe at all as we were always under strict control of our guides. We simply stopped and when Simon signalled we walked very quietly and the hippo did not even move. Even so, this was quite thrilling!
In the boat safari we saw hippos doing all kind of things and as I said thousands of birds everywhere. Impala and puku are really endemic! Elephants are also in good numbers, despite being scattered in the green season.
We loved the camp as it is small and rustic but perfectly comfortable (I loved the open bathroom in particular). The main area where meals are served is absolutely fantastic. We enjoyed our early morning coffee with the camp team. Perhaps I should not call them "staff" or "team" as they really made us feel like being with friends! Glenn is a perfect host, always looking after us, extremely friendly yet professional. We deeply enjoyed his company (on top of his professional skills of course) and his nice thoughts- he organized a romantic dinner for us on our veranda for our last night there.
Our tented room was fantastic with a view on the river. We saw two hippos mating just sitting there after lunch. It was amazing as we had never seen that before. Food quality was as good as at Kapani (despite being so remote) and we enjoyed the communal meals a lot. Once again the vegetarian options were always tasty.
We wish we will be able to go back in the dry season and walk between camps."
"Kapani Lodge review"
Islands of Siankaba
"Excellent lodge with community project"
The following morning Victor took us for a village tour and again this is an amazing experience, difficult to describe properly. We spent a couple of hours walking around the village and meeting the local people. We also met the headman (who offered to marry us and give us a big party!) and the school teacher Malindi. We were impressed by the school and its facilities. We visited on a Sunday so the children were not at school, but we had a chance to talk to Malindi and he explained to us what they do. Everything was really well organized. They were building an outside playing area as well. It seemed to us that they put a lot of effort in educating and teaching these children.
Everyone we talked to undelined what big difference the lodge has made. Most people working at the lodge are from local villages and the old school used to be just a tin roof, before the lodge. To us this a excellent example of running a "responsible" lodge, giving something back to the community. We really liked all this.
The lodge itself is beautiful, with "jungle-like" footbridges, a perfect terrace where meals are served, a nice pool and great location. Our "tent" was not short of luxury and the veranda is a private window on the river.
We missed our sunset cruise as the weather changed and it rained. We liked the remoteness of the lodge, but it may not be the place for people who want to be in the middle of the falls activities as it is about one hour drive from there.
Food quality was really good and they catered for vegetarian really well.
All the junior members of staff were great with us.
In our personal opinion the atmosphere created by the managers was too formal, especially at dinner, during which there were a few awkward conversations."
"Amazing bushcamp in the wild"
It is a bit of a long drive from Livingstone, but the drive was made very pleasant by Sevious (from Silver Tours) who is a very friendly and open person and by the end of the trip we were friends - we were happy when he showed up to pick us up on our way back as well. He easily agreed to stop and visit the Painted Dog Conservation Centre near the park gate, which is by the way a very interesting project and really worth a visit if you are in the area.
Back to Somalisa: we were picked up from main camp by Raimond and Mike who took us for a drive and a picnic lunch near a waterhole. We were impressed by their friendly attitude and knowledge. We liked their philosophy of watching without disturbing the animals.
The welcome to the camp, where we met Dudley and Nic and the rest of the staff, was great and we loved it immediately. It is beautifully designed with a "bush feel" in a remote area but you have all the facilities you need. Our tent had beautiful furniture and a fun open bathroom with a bucket shower.
After a quick shower we walked back to the main area and were astonished to find an elephant drinking from the pool less a few meters away from the deck! He kept drinking while keeping an eye on us. The interesting story is that there is also a waterhole in front of the camp, but elephant like the clean water from the pool better!
Sitting on the deck you can watch elephants, baboons, zebra, giraffe.....amazing!
Because it was still a bit too hot for us we did a walk every morning and a drive in the afternoon (but they are flexible and you could stay out all day if you wanted to).
The great thing about this camp (and I am told in Zimbabwe in general) is that the guide acts also as a scout (armed) which allows you to stop the car and get off and walk whenever you wish for as long as you wish. For example during one drive we were so lucky as to find not one but four rhinos grazing near a waterhole. Raimond and Mike asked us if we were up for a closer look on foot and we jumped at the chance. This was the first time we saw rhinos in the wild and it was amazing. We walked checking the wind and hid behind a bush, very close to them. They did not see us and we had a great chance of taking good pictures but most of all a great memory to take back home.
All our walks and drive were great and we saw a huge number of animals. Once we walked very near to a herd of Kudus and everybosy back at camp was surprised we could get that close as they are normally skittish. We watched a huge elephant bull digging for minerals and stayed for a while enjoying the way he broke the soil with a foot and then used his trunk. He then turned around to show us how big he was before slowing walking away. We learnt to recognize the smell of a bull in musth as he followed a female herd. There are thousands of elephants in the park and we never got tired of watching them. We learnt that zebras in Hwange are slightly different as they have a brownish shadow between black and white stripes.
I need to keep this "reasonably short" so I cannot describe everything we saw, but the experience was great!
We deeply enjoyed the atmosphere at the camp including the meals with the giudes, we never stop talking! You can tell they are all bound togheter and friends and work in perfect harmony. It was a pleasure to have the chance to meet all of them and were sorry to leave. We will never forget our days at Somalisa.
We wish we could keep this hidden gem for ourselves only, but it would be unfair....so we reccomend to go there and enjoy the experience!
Finally we would like to mention that we felt perfectly at easy in Zimbabwe, everything ran smoothly for us, we met all friendly people and we think they deserve a growing number of tourists to visit as this may help the local people and the economy."
"Cheerful hotel next to the falls"
Having met people from Zambia and Zimbabwe who asked us to tell them at the end which side is best...we are now stuck! The truth is we liked each side. From the Zim side you have a better view (and you get less soaked) and the path is longer. So we agree with somebody who said you should the falls from both sides if you can.
The lodge is relatively small, even if it felt like a grand hotel to us after two weeks in the bush. Our room was nice and comfortable, the swimming pool is great and the bar and restaurant areas are very well designed and pleasant to look at. Sitting there you can see the smoke and hear the thunder....while enjoying a good dinner with a good glass of wine!
A special note for the breakfast as the buffet we found in the morning was one of the most impressive we have ever seen!"
Fantastic trip to Ruaha
Tanzania between 3 Jun 2010 and 13 Jun 2010
Ellie and Liz spent a lot of time discussing with us during the planning of the trip and they really know every single camp and place.
When BA went on strike they rebooked us (Actually they were holding seats for us anyway) on KQ and managed to even change the internal flight to Ruaha from one airlne to a different one so that we "missed" only 2 hours. This was impressive as we met other people who were stuck in Dar for hours.
All the camps were exactly as they said and we could not ask for more. We enjoyed this trip very much and we are already dreaming about the next one!
Thank you so much!!!
Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:
We realised in this trip how important the skills, experience and qualifications of a guide are. Maybe you could add more comments on the guiding team in each camp or mention in some way where they focus on guiding. Pietro and Molly must be among the best ones as their knowledge is impressive. We are 2 small animal specialists vets and we asked lots of questions and they were just great!
(I know there are already some comments in some camps but I could not find any other suggestion and the website does not allow me to submit with this field empty!)"
"Perfect small camp"
The camp itself is very simple but you have all the conforts that you need.
We were very lucky as we were the only guests during our stay (beginning of the season) and they spoiled us without limits!!
I cannot describe everything as this would become too long, so I am just going to mention that our stay at Kwihala was perfect and we came back with memories that will be remember forever. My personal favourite was sitting in the car watching a herd of elephant foraging and gradually moving closer to us until they were so close I could see the eyelashes of a young female eating a couple of metres from us. We could see the youngster interacting with older ones. Meanwhile Pietro was explaining us the fascinating anatomy, physiology and social behaviour of these wonderful animals. I do not know how long we stayed there but it was mesmerising!! and of course we had to wait for the elephant to decide to leave first!
Another "secret" is that we saw 4 different prides of lions, including one of the most beautiful creatures I have ever seen: a black mane male. I lost count of how many they were. but over 40!! I was not supposed to mention all these figures as now all the guest will arrive with hight expectations....and Pietro told us we were just lucky. I am not sure we were "just" lucky, but I am sure we had excellent guides!
Asante Sana Marafiki!!"
We had booked 2 nights fly-camp and this ended up being one of the best experience in our lives!! It is difficult to explain the feeling of sleeping in a small camp in the wild with visiting buffalos and elephant in the evening. Once again we were the only 2 guest for 2 nights and we had Molly with us 24/7. Walking in the bush is an experience not to be missed, and we found out it is also addictive. Molly is a fantastic guide and you could listen to him for hours. You can tell he has a huge knowledge and love for wildlife and it is contagious. We never stopped asking questions and he never stopped answering...He also had all his meals with us and he was great company! All the staff at the fly camp was great.
We then spent two nights at the main camp (and we went for another walk and drives in the afternoon). Everything was perfect - this is the reign of Noelle and she does an excellent job at organizing and making sure every guest is happy and looked after.
One day after luch we watched elephants, baboons and impalas from our veranda!
We saw some rare animals like the white tailed mongoose and the honeybadger. We also noticed that worthogs are curios and seemed to let us get closer to them on foot.
In both camps the food and service were excellent.
The location of the main camp is very scenic as it is on a sand river. The whole camp is luxurios but it fits really well with the safari feeling. We loved Molly and Noelle and every minute we spent at Jongomero, in fact we want to go back already!"
"peaceful and relaxing"
Imal was up at 6.30 on a Sunday to take us to the airstrip and we were lucky to have him there as the booked flight did not arive at the scheduled time. He was great and he made several calls until he managed to get an aircraft to us. We made it in time to board the BA flight in Dar and we would have missed it without his help!! Great job! He was also very chatty and reassuring."
Best holiday ever
Tanzania and 1 other country between 6 Jun 2009 and 18 Jun 2009
All the transports were perfectly organized. The 3 places we stayed at were as we expected them (or better) and the choice was made with the help of Ellie, who spent a long time talking to us, explaining every detail and giving her gentle suggestions. She was always ready to answer anything at any time of the day. Thanks a lot Ellie!!
The best part of our trip was the waling safari at Impala. The days on the beach were really relaxing. We were a bit disappointed by Stone Town, but this is due to our expectations rather than any problem. We were expecting something different. Maybe the problem was that nothing could compare with the safari for us.
We will keep this part short in order to avoid repeating what we said for the prvious parts.
Best holiday we ever had!! The problem is we already want to go back..."
"Perfect safari at Impala"
From the moment when Dennis picked us up from Mtemere to the (sad) moment when he drove us back on the last day, all the staff was incredibly helpful, reliable, friendly and professional. We did not personally meet everyone but here are a few names: Dennis who patiently drove us everywhere, constantly giving explanations and always finding whatever animal we were looking for. Mokamba who leads the walking safari and seems to know everything about the bush. Daudi who waited on us always with a smile (giving us some free Swahili lessons as well). The chef is great, we were spoiled with three excellent meals a day, bush breakfast and lunches. monica is vegetarian and she ate different dishes every day.
Matteo and Barbara are the perfect managers, always smiling and helpful; they chat with you but always make sure you have your privacy. Everyone seems to effortelessy do the extra mile for you with a smile. There are too many people and too many details to describe them all, so forgive us if we do not mention someone/something!
The camp is not described as luxurious but to us it was perfect - a beautiful tent, perfect location, en-suite hot shower, purified water. Andrea the hyppo walking around in the evening...the bush babies screaming during the night...the monkeys jumping on the roof of our tent...
The highlight of our stay were definetely the walking safari, they were just a overwhelming! We wish to go back and spend a few days in a fly camp. Another great detail is that you have the guide and driver for yourself and every day you can choose what activity you wish.
Despite the fact that it was officially low season we saw lions, a leopard, wild dogs (with puppies!), hyppos, crocs, giraffes, baboons, you name it! It maight be that we were really lucky! The landscape was still green and really beautiful. It is very difficult to describe the feelings and emotions in writing as our experience was so much better than these words!!
Asante sana to everyone. We love Impala Camp."
Mchanga Beach Lodge, Zanzibar (this camp has since closed)
"Relax on a perfect beach at Mchanga"
Gloria and Thomas check everyday how their guests are doing and they spoil you if you can. We had the luck to be the only guests for a couple of nights so we got a special dinner on the beach with candlelight, really romantic!
Staff members are really efficient, friendly and they do everything they can to spoil you - starting with a cup of tea when they see you are awake. The quality and variety of the food was great.
Gloria and Thomas can organize trips around the island for you, we went to Jozani forest and it was really good.
In summary this is a perfect place if you want to relax and be spoiled!
Thanks a lot, we really enjoyed our stay!!
Some "food for thoughts" ...if allowed. Please do not take this is a complaint, but a mere idea. Since the lodge is in a small fishing village and the contrast between the local people and the tourists is quite striking, it would be nice to give something back. For example set up a way of helping the local school, maybe asking guests to bring something if they wish. Or anything else along these lines. Forgive my candid opinion if this is very difficult to organize."
When passed to Gloria and Thomas at Mchanga, they were delighted with this traveller’s positive feedback and hastened to add that they will give the suggestion of giving something back some serious thought. They promise to let us know what they come up with… and we hope that the comment will prove to be a catalyst.
Lodge not featured by Expert Africa
Beyt al Salaam
We went to the falls, had a sunset boat trip (and thanks to Lawrence we spent a long time watching a large elephant herd drinking from the river form the Zim side- it was magic) and went canoeing down the river - which was a lot of fun. We also asked to go for a walk in the park and the staff organized it for us. We wanted to see the vegetable local market and were promptly accommodated.
Everything was good and organized..perhaps a little too much for us as we are more used to "more flexible-bush style" places and the fact that all activities have specific times detracted a little for us.
To be honest this was an add-on to our volunteering trip so we could not be flexible with dates and this was the best option at the time of our booking."