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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs D from Harrow

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

5

Excursions taken

0

My Jan 2015 trip

South Africa between 13 Jan 2015 and 2 Feb 2015

Trip rating: Excellent
"The trip was very successful and enjoyable. This is despite the unexpected weather difficulties (delayed rains meant that game in the Transfrontier Park was less profuse than normal for January and temperatures were uncomfortably high, followed by a sudden startlingly chilly period in Tswalu).

One point on timing, although the road from Upington to Twee Rivieren is tarred for the whole route, sticking to the speed limits it still takes about 2.75 hours to drive.

Visits to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park nowadays are now notably more regimented than in our earlier visit in the 1980s. However we had the impression that the organisation there was pretty good.

There were no good maps of the Transfrontier Park available in the area of the park. The only map provided in the park was a black and white A4 photocopy. The best map available to us was the coloured photocopy provided in Expert Africa's documentation.

When we left Jo'burg International airport on 31 January for our trip back to UK we were given particular warning at the check-in desk that from 1 February the airport would be being much more rigorous about baggage limits etc. We don't know whether or not this is an issue to watch."

Arranged By Tracy Lederer


Le Must River Residence

Le Must River Residence

"Le Must River Residence review"

1 night Arrived 17 Jan 2015
"We had two one-night stays at Le Must. Both rooms were comfortable, one was reasonably sized and the other was spacious. In the former room (but not the latter) there was no door between the bedroom and the en-suite facilities which seemed a pity and rather perverse, especially as there was a framed doorway that should have been able to have a door. If we understood correctly from one of the staff, a number of the rooms have the same feature.

The garden is very attractive and a good place to relax after a long drive.

For those who want a breakfast without a cooked meal, the choice was very basic although more or less adequate. Fruit salad and coffee ran out quickly. The few staff were busy preparing cooked meals and had to be hijacked to get replacements.

We met the manageress on the afternoon of our second visit. She was very welcoming and was also helpful in contacting Budget to ensure that we could be given a lift back to town after returning our hire vehicle."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Average
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Twee Rivieren Rest Camp

Twee Rivieren Rest Camp

"Twee Rivieren Rest Camp review"

1 night Arrived 18 Jan 2015
"We had the same chalet twice. It was spacious. It was in reasonable condition, adequately equipped and clean.

At Twee Rivieren electricity is available 24hrs a day. There is airconditioning in the chalets. The shop is open for most of the day.

We tried the restaurant for one evening meal. The meal was good and the restaurant itself was pleasant (and very different from the park board restaurant of some decades ago)."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Nossob Rest Camp

Nossob Rest Camp

"Nossob Rest Camp review"

1 night Arrived 19 Jan 2015
"Chalets more basic and less spacious than at Twee Rivieren (and more like traditional park board camps). Nevertheless adequate, reasonably well maintained and equipped, and clean.

There is no airconditioning in the chalets. Electricity is available from 4.00 am to 10,00 pm and during those hours a roof fan in the chalet bedroom section can be used. However, in midsummer during the night when there is no electricity the bedroom section can be very hot.

The Nossob shop appears to have limited opening times (possibly only 6 to 7 pm during our visit). If some travellers are relying on the shop for key supplies such as water, some care would be needed over this.

Nossob has a hide overlooking a waterhole adjacent to the camp. This was a very pleasing feature (and we would have liked to spend longer in it).

We thought Nossob was a pleasing camp and enjoyed visiting it. Temperatures in mid-summer can get very high.

The reception staff were very helpful when we decided we should reconsider our route for the next two days."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Rooms
Good
Facilities
Average
Ta Shebube Rooiputs

Ta Shebube Rooiputs

"Ta Shebube Rooiputs review"

1 night Arrived 22 Jan 2015
"We liked Rooiputs. Its location is good, with an attractive outlook over dunes and a waterhole but it is close to the Nossob valley road. (It is close to the old Rooiputs camp site which is still there but the camp site is some distance behind the lodge and does not affect the views).

The lodge appears to have been designed by experienced lodge designers and seems well constructed (although it is too new to be able to judge maintenance standards). The individual chalets are comfortable and attractive. The lodge has its own private concession area although this is not large. In practice most of the wildlife is in the river valleys and there is only a little in the concession area, but the latter is scenically attractive and a change from the river valley scenery.

The lodge is nearly half an hour north of Twee Rivieren. Thus, for example, early morning game drives in the Nossob valley can start before other people get to that area. Our early morning drive with Rooiputs' ranger/guide in their vehicle was very successful and for much of the time no other vehicles were in sight.

The guide on our evening and morning game viewing drives was qualified and sound. The vehicle was a normal modification of Land Rover, open-toppped with canvas canopy. It was new and seemed in good condition.

Catering standards appear good and we enjoyed our meals. We were given very good service in general. (We were in fact the only guests on the one night we stayed there).

For midsummer heat it would be appropriate to install roof fans in the chalets and we understand that Rooiputs is considering doing this. In the meantime they provide a floor standing fan. Electricity is available for 24hrs.

More consideration is probably needed to coping with very cold mid-winter conditions. For example the only shower in each chalet is outdoors. The wall above the doors to the chalet's verandah is just mesh. We understand that Rooiputs is thinking about addressing this aspect.

The tracks to the lodge are sand tracks over the dunes and are only passable with 4 wheel drive. Clients with 2 wheel drive vehicles can leave them at Twee Rivieren and Rooiputs lodge will collect them from there. We understand that arrangements can also be made to collect clients from Upington.

Signposting to the lodge might be improved."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Image alt

Tswalu

"Tswalu - an impressive operation"

4 nights Arrived 24 Jan 2015
"We were impressed by Tswalu and very much enjoyed our stay there.

The overall reserve is large at about 100,000 hectares. It is divided into one section of 20,000 ha which contains normal Kalahari game with lions, but no rare or endangered species. The larger section of 80,000 ha excludes lions (although there are other predators such as leopard, cheetah and dogs) but includes rare and endangered species as well as normal Kalahari game. There is also a rare breeds breeding centre outside the reserve. (Unsurprisingly there are no elephants in the reserve.)

The scenery is varied and attractive (plains, dunes, kopjes, ranges of rocky hills, etc). There are some lovely scenic views.

The main lodge has (we think) 9 chalets, 2 or 3 of which have 2 bedrooms. The chalets are very spacious and comfortable. There is good airconditioning for the summer and provision for log fires in the winter. All the chalets look straight out over the bush. There is a waterhole opposite the main lodge building and, depending on circumstances, game around the lodge area can sometimes be extensive. There is another lodge in a different part of the reserve and this has (we think) 5 bedrooms and is normally booked as a whole. Even when all the accommodation is fully occupied, the density of visitors in such a large reserve must be low.

Tswalu operates on the basis that each group of guests has its own guide and tracker for the duration of their visit. The programme is flexible to suit the interests of each group. Options include night drives and dinners in the bush (although not, of course, in winter) and horse riding among herds of game (we did not try the latter). Meal times are flexible and meals can be taken when it is convenient. Meals were good with interesting choices while avoiding any impression of excessive luxury.

The large size of the reserve means that there can be some long drives (typically starting well before dawn in summer) to get to some areas where there are interesting species. Once in those areas there may still be significant time spent on serious tracking to locate some animals (indeed after 3 hours of tracking one day we still did not succeed in finding cheetahs). We thought this aspect was very successful, interesting and enjoyable. However, people who want easy access to game may not be attracted by it.

Our guide was well qualified, very knowledgeable and keen to pass on his knowledge. Our tracker seemed to be very capable. The vehicle was good. It was a normal type of open-topped safari Land Rover with a canopy.

We have not found Tswalu on any map. It is just off the road from Hotazel to Vanzylsrus, about 60km from the latter. Our road transfer to Tswalu from Upington took 3.75 hours.

Air transfers between Jo'burg and Tswalu are operated by Fireblade Aviation. The aircraft used (for our transfer in any case) is a comfortable 8 seater Pilatus. Fireblade have their own rather smart small terminal at Jo'burg international airport. Our pre-booked transfer from the airport to our Sandton hotel was in Fireblade's own comfortable minibus."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

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