Travel reviews by Mr S. from Clontarf
Total number of trips
Lodges stayed in
My Apr 2022 trip in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe between 16 Apr 2022 and 2 May 2022
We wanted to see the parks in the “green season” and it was a very interesting and different time to visit. As expected we saw far less animals than we would in the dry season. But the engagements were deeper as we spent more time with each sighting and learned more. We also saw far more birds and learned more about the flora.
The three locations complimented each other with differing vegetation and wildlife.
All three guides were different and excellent. And great and entertaining characters - all recommended.
Having travelled just as the COVID restrictions ended, we found it very easy to travel, albeit still a little quiet for tourism but picking up. It was so nice to be back to normal out in the camps. It also meant we had camps nearly to ourselves.
Air travel was fine and we just needed to produce vaccine certs to enter countries. Masks had to be worn on flights to South Africa. Certainly Africa is back for business!"
Arranged By Tom Morris
Dadiso Tented Camp
"Dadiso Tented Camp review"
Lodge not featured by Expert Africa
"Camp Hwange review"
Again the team did a great job of ensuring a fabulous visit, in a very friendly and efficient manner. With “work to do” each day we had great engagement with the animals we watched and schedules became flexible during the day as we reacted to what we found.
We especially enjoyed seeing and worrying about the lone lion cub and finally seeing it reunite with its parents.
Walking with Dave and Washington was excellent and their enthusiasm and excitement really makes the experience.
Private guiding in Hwange
Dave’s energy and enthusiasm is infectious. Being out in the bush with him is hugely informative and fun. He was totally focused on giving us the best experience and searching for tracks to find certain wildlife.
Schedules went out of the window as we happily followed what we found, and learned much more about the animals’ activities, environment and social interaction.
It was also great to see how good a manager, trainer and mentor Dave is to his team.
We also had some great walking at Camp Hwange - always meaningful tracking for certain animals and feeling totally safe. We had some great experiences with some elephants on a couple of walks.
Would very much recommend time with Dave and Washington"
"Somalisa Expeditions review"
This end of Hwange has different habitat to Camp Hwange, as ever with loads of elephant but the lion pride was the main attraction - we saw 10 lion together on our first sighting!
The whole team was very friendly and enthusiastic about their guests. Star was a great host and we had fabulous guiding by Mike Tsoka who has an incredible depth of knowledge. “We love it! “
We would recommend a few days at Expeditions."
Batonka Guest Lodge
"Batonka Guest Lodge review"
Nice and quiet with good breakfast and dinner. Nice areas to sit around and relax. Does take a taxi to get into the town and to the Falls but very easy.
Had an excellent taxi driver recommended by the hotel who gave us a bit of a guided tour of Vic Falls!"
Zimbabwe is well worth visiting
Zimbabwe between 31 Aug 2018 and 17 Sep 2018
Freddie responded well to our request to select camps primarily for the quality of their guides. The camps were all of high quality and each had unique experiences, and great, knowledgable and experienced guides.
It is pleasing to see each camp supporting their local communities and doing their best to protect the wildlife and prevention of poaching. Clearly they are managing despite the current political and economic crises facing the country and are well worth supporting.
Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:
We like the fact that we can chat to your reps and you make suggestions to help us choose camps and locations based on our past experiences with you and don’t simply refer us to your website or brochures so the trip is truly tailored to our wishes."
Victoria Falls Hotel
"Comfortable stay at old colonial hotel"
Good atmosphere at the Terrace bar and food was of high quality.
Good place to stay at start and end of trip"
"Fabulous stay at great camp "
Daryl is a fabulous guide and committed to protecting the wildlife. Melanie is a great host and included all the staff ensured they got credit for their involvement in our stay. Daryl and Melanie seemed as excited as us to see the animals, especially the dog pups.
We will always remember our canoeing along the Zambezi and the unique views of hippos. The accommodation and food were excellent. It was also fascinating to hear about Nick and Daryl’s efforts with their Conservancy protecting the wildlife in the park.
Thoroughly recommended for any trip to Zimbabwe."
Stretch Ferreira Safaris Camp
"Good traditional safari camp"
The camp is more basic than Vundu but perfectly comfortable. It did seem to undergoing some change in management.
We may have suffered from it being in a state of flux with a full camp and inexperienced staff organising the activities. The quality of our activities varied day to day."
"Well run camp with a lot of widlife"
We saw a host of animals here especially cats with an incredible first day - lion, cheetah, caracal, serval, wild cat There was a good team of experienced guides who were talking regularly to each other to track down the game. The camp is run very flexibly with schedules varied to match the animal sightings rather than sticking to fixed times.
The rooms are excellent and very comfortable. We had the same guide Kevin for most of our time and he was very keen to ensure we saw as much as possible
Hwange Bush Camp
"Good small camp: experience below expectation"
We spent a lot of time on game drives which enabled us to see many different game but had only one close encounter out of the vehicle.
The tents are comfortable with great food and the night skies are amazing.
If you want to walk check out the availability of guides in advance"
"Luxury camp in stunning national park "
They organised fascinating trip out to Great Zimbabwe ruins for us, albeit a long day with helpful explanation from our guide Howard.
The cave paintings are well worth seeing and the rock formations create an incredible landscape.
Amalinda organised our travel from Hwange and back to Vic Falls. The journey was comfortable and smooth. Packed lunches on our travels were great.
Well worth visiting for a relaxing time after safari."
Victoria Falls Hotel
"Relaxing final night "
[Ed: see below]"
Another great holiday in wonderful Namibia
Namibia between 19 Sep 2016 and 7 Oct 2016
The whole range and variety of scenery across the country continues to be massively impressive, with many places to relax in remote areas looking across vast expanses of land.
Self driving is very easy (provided you don't forget your driving licence as I did, needing to courier it out!). We took a 4x4 this time which realistically we only needed (but then certainly did) in 3 or 4 locations.
Tourism has clearly grown a lot in the last few years - we saw many more tourists driving on the roads compared to 9 years ago. The country still feels very safe (albeit there are now warnings in some major towns with regard to petty theft).
The Namibian people continue to be warm and friendly but we did notice a significant reduction in the interest of guides to ensure we had a great experience - many seemed to have lost some interest in the job. This may have been because we were in less visited areas or a dfference between the South and North of the country.
Still a fabulous country to visit.
Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:
No improvements - Maruska was fabulous (again)"
"Ok basic place to stay close to the airport"
Restaurant isn't great but saves going out into Windhoek."
Kalahari Anib Lodge
"Good stop on way down South"
The game drive into the Kalahari had a lot of people on the vehicle and the guide wasn't very attentive to photographers. And then the vehicles all went to the same location for the sundowner drinks so there were too many people present and we drove pretty much in convoy to the location."
"Good base for visiting the Canbyon area"
Only a fairly short drive (20 mins) to the Canyon. A later start is worthwhile as the sun only lights into the Canyon later in the orning whilst dust in the air affects tha fternoon views. Drove down the 4x4 track along the canyon to get some better views that are worthwhile versus the main viewpoint, though you do need a 4x4 given the quality of the road.
Alo stopped for fuel, beer and a very nice cheesecake at the quirky Roadhouse fairly close by, and would certainly prefer the Lodge versus the Roadhouse as a place to stay.
Drove down to the Orange River then up through Rosh Pinah enroute to Luderitz. Fabulous scenery along the way and very different green scenery close to the river although it adds an hour to the journey."
"Better than expected hotel"
Clean and confortable room, and nice seafood restaurant. The bar is small and pokey though and suffered froma few people eating in the area.
Was full of coach tour people and staff not very friendly.
We only stayed one night and in hindsight we probably could have travelled in from Aus. The town itself doesn't have a lot to offer. Kolmanskop, one of the main draws is only open from 8am to 1pm. We got to the site early to look around alone before the coach loads arrived for the 9.30 and 11.00 tours.
The sea trips (now on a catamaran not the old Schooner) only run in the morning so if you do the trip to Halifax island you can just rush to make the last tour at Kolmanskop on the same day. High winds and rough seas meant the boat trip wasn't running anyway. If we we had only intended to go to Kolmanskop and some driving around we could have stayed in Aus.
Luderitz is clearly struggling economically with not much to see after a few historical buildings but worth a trip out from the Fish River Canyon to see the surrounding area."
Desert Horse Inn
"Friendly, homely place to stay"
Staff were very friendly and helpful, and the meals were excellent. One of the owner brothers came around each table at dinner and gave us some great insights into the lodge, the hstory of the area and the Namibian climate.
A walk in the evening gave great views at sundown even if we did lose the route on the return so walked further than planned!
We only saw a few of the desert horses in the area and not close enough for photos. The drive to Luderitz is amazing with the barren Karoo desert, including sandstorms closer to Luderitz, albeit not sufficient to impact driving on the tarred road.
We had two lunches at the Bahnhof Hotel in Aus coming and going. It is a friendly and efficient spot with a surprising good and broad menu and worth a stop in the town."
Wolwedans Boulders Camp
"Fabulous location and upmarket small camp"
The staff (particularly the 'manager') were not attentive and didn't seem keen to please or ensure a good experience. We were only there for one night before moving to the Dune Camp. No activities were offered the first evening and they were happy enough for us to go off on our own walk across the plain for sunset, otherwise they were just offering drinks at the back of the camp.
It took some persuasion to get them to agree to do a sunrise drive the following morning and they seemed keen to have us on our way early that morning.
They did arrange a sunrise drive where the scenery was fabulous in the morning light. The two guides who took us were friendly and keen to help though obviously rather junior and simply drove us a few kilometres to a great spot for sunrise and then back.
Overall, could have been a fabulous experience but was let down by the lackadaisical attitude of the guides/manager.
When transferring to the Wolwedeans Dune Camp with your own vehicle you need to drive out to the main road and around up to the main camp which is quite a long journey whilst their own vehicles travel up the valley between camps."
Wolwedans Dune Camp
"A further great location let down by staff"
The location is fabulous and the accomodation is good. The 'ladies' running the camp were very friendly and helpful, and served some very good 5 course dinners and a good breakfast and salad at lunch.
But the effort to have all guests sit at one table really didn't work especially with guests of differing languages. Some asked to be seated elsewhere on their second night. I agree with another review that it would be nice to have some of the guides aorund at meal times whereas they return to the base camp.
Oryx regularly came to the waterhole and walked around the camp. We saw little other game close to the camp though saw a lot of wildlife on the drive into the Wolwedans base camp.
The big let down was the activities. We really weren't given much detail on options and were not told about the option to do a full day game drive (the activity all other guests told us was the best option). For the first night the only option was a short drive to a sundown point where other vehicles also attended so there was a large group of 3 vehicles. The following morning we did an early morning drive (unfortunately in a closed vehicle) to take some photographs of the area. In the afternoon after some negotiation we had a short walk with busman guides which was interesting but short, as the only other option was the same sundown trip. We couldn't do a long morning drive on our final day so asked about a further walk, but they couldn't provide a guide so we couldn't do anything before we left.
It all seemed a hassle to them to organise activities. We didn't feel we benefitted as much as we could have done in the fabulous location. We would comment that Matthew, a fairly new guide, was very friendly and tried to be helpful."
Barkhan Dune Retreat
"Retreat is just the right name for this place"
They have done a clever and nice job building the individual chalets into the dunes, at the end of a lovely and very quiet valley. Hannjete quietly ensured tea/coffee/beer was provided at multiple points through the day whenever we were back at the home.
Dinner around the table with the hosts were excellent and it felt like being house guests rather than paying guests. We had two enjoyable discussions with the hosts and other guests whilst drinks flowed (especially reducing Willem's whiskey stocks).
The walk up the hill behind the farm is well worth it for fabulous views.
Other guests went on agame drive with Willem and saw a great range of game including a very large herd of Oryx plus Zebra.
The Spreetshoogte Pass is also worth a visit - a very steep and twisting road up that gives incredible views across the plain and only 20 minutes from Barchan Dunes.
Overall a very nice place to relax in the middle of nowhere!"
"OK place to stay as a stopover"
It is quite a long drive out of Usakos and off the main route.
We took an evening game drive where the guide was excellent and knowledgeable. However we only saw a few animals in the distance. The sundown stop wasn't great (next to a fence where we couldn't see the dun go down) and we weren't taken to the rock art."
Ghaub Guest Farm
"Comfortable and enjoyable stopover"
The old building and rooms give a nice feel to the farm and the bedroom was well fitted out. Many birds were flying around the grounds which were amazingly green after seeing the rest of the country.
As we only had one night enroute to Bushmanland we didn't partake of the activities,the cave or seeing the rhino. Not much game was seen around the farm.
Overall a delightful and recommended place for a stopover in the region."
"Great experience to visit the bushmen"
It does seem a little too much like a 'human zoo' in the village when you start with the 'shop' selling their handmade articrafts followed by arranged dances and demonstrations of arrow making etc. On the walk the bushmen clearly weren't needing to hunt and it felt the walk was a bit of a tourist occasion.
Arno was informative and attentive, clearly is core to the camp and is looking to sell the camp if possible. The camp is comfortable but basic with simpler meals than at other camps.
We also suffered because of the drought and a recent bush fire in the area which meant there was little game and no elephant locally.
It is a long drive out to Nhoma which ensures you realise how remote you are (and the effort Arno has to go to get supplies from 4 hours drive away). The last 20 kilometres of the road has a lot of deep sand in places and a 4x4 is essential for getting through to the camp.
Overall, well worth the visit to a remote location to see a life which if likely to end soon, but not as authentic experience as hoped."
Okonjima Plains Camp
"Very wel run and informative centre"
The Standard rooms are nicely decorated in a simple way and have two large beds with views out across the plain. Meals are served in a large building. The set 3 course dinners were good - game each night. The first night's meal was significantly better than the second. All staff were keen to ensure the visit was good. Tables were allocated for dinner, but we asked to combine tables with others we met on the game drives and were accomodated immediately.
We took three drives out seeing leopard, cheetah and wild dogs, as well as loads of antelope and giraffe. The guide, Immanuel, was excellent and made an effort to ensure we saw as much as we could during our stay. We were nervous that the viewing would be affected by the way they collar the cats and track them but in practice it didn't affect the experience as the cats are roaming wild and the tracking doesn't 100% identify the location of the animals and the animals might be in areas the vehicles can't reach.
The clinic/centre is also worth a visit to understand the work AfriCat does.
We hung around on our final day as it was such a comfortable place torelax before heading on to Windhoek."
"Comfortable place for a night in Windhoek"
The room was quite small but well appointed and very comfortable.
The manager, Eddie, was very attentive and runs the place well."
Rwanda and Zambia - September 2014
Zambia and 2 other countries between 4 Sep 2014 and 21 Sep 2014
Maruska is excellent. She has great listening skills and an ability to match our desired trip with the Expert Africa offering superbly. Her advice was essential in helping us plan our holiday and the selection she recommended worked well.
Thanks also to Ellie and Chris for their advice on photography and to Ellie for handling our final arrangements.
Primate Safaris - especially Simba - was great in Rwanda. The agent in Kenya was not good and left us waiting at Nairobi airport for a long time when he was due to meet us. Remote Africa run a fabulous, family operation. And Shiwa N'gandu is a quite extraordinary and memorable experience.
The wildlife and experience lived up to all our expectations. The guides and hosts we met as we went around made the holiday for us, providing us with real insights to life in Rwanda and Zambia."
"Comfortable small hotel in the Karen suburb"
Nice not to be in a large hotel. Bit of a distance from Nairobi airport."
Hotel des Mille Collines
"Good quality hotel with quality restaurant"
SImba from Primate Safaris was excellent - really went the extra mile to ensure we had a wonderful trip. He made our trip very easy and informative. He was really interesting to talk to regarding the genocide and the subsequent reconciliation. So overall meeting him added significantly to what was intended primarily as a visit to the gorillas.
Simba also kept watch on other guests and ensured that they were looked after. The morning of our second visit to the gorillas two guests had some difficulty and Simba made sure they were looked after even though they were not his responsibility. He was known to many of the guests and very popular. He is customer focussed and has a lot to offer to tourism in Rwanda."
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge
"Very good base for gorilla trekking"
Room was comfortable and clean, staff were very friendly and helpful. Our boots were cleaned very well especially on the second day when we only had 30 minutes before we left. Meals are average but OK. Contrary to other reports there is 24 hour electricity.
So a good base without spending the very high prices at other lodges."
"Ok hotel for overnight connection at NBO"
"Very good camp with great facilities"
Bwalya was an excellent guide who took us for all our drives over 3 days and worked hard to ensure we saw just about all animals and had a varied experience. He also drove us up to Tafika on the last day. The other staff were friendly and efficient and added to the stay.
The food is excellent with a varied menu available at all times of day - definitely the best meals we have ever had on safaris. - and it was great to have a cooked breakfast when we returned from the morning drives!
The tent was very comfortable - once you got to it around the regular elephant visitors most days."
Chikoko Tree Camp
"Fabulous experience at Chikoko trail camp"
Brent ensured our walking safaris were really informative - he knows everything about the flora and fauna as well as the animals and explains how everything interacts. And then at night can talk about Big Wave surfing in Hawaii during the winter!
The four hour morning walks seemed to go by so quickly. Wonderful sightings of elephant, buffalo and the deer on walks including experiencing maybe 1,000 buffalo stampeding past us.
It's great to be in such a remote area and fully experience the bush. The food was very good and a marvel how well the cook copes with the limited facilities.
As with all of Remote Africa the organisation and staff were excellent."
Big Lagoon Camp
"Great camp but less animals to view"
It was our first experience of walking safaris. the walks were very informative understanding more of the flora and fauna and the environment despite the fewer animal sightings."
"Great family run camp with top class guiding"
Maruska recommended this camp to us as she knew we really enjoyed family run camps from past safaris. Remote Africa really delivered at Tafika, Chikoko and Crocodile camps. The owners are all over the operations and the whole staff feel part of the one family. We met many guests who returned over many years.
Carol, Bryan, Rona and Heather run the camp like clockwork whilst always being around and very friendly. We had great drives with Bryan and Jenny. And walking with Alex and old hand Isaac was fabulous. We won't forget walking through the long grass searching for the growling lions around their buffalo kill.
Bryan excelled by finding wild dogs for us one night just before the ever necessary gin and tonic for sundown!
A return is essential!"
"Remarkable experience - well worth it"
Charlie and Jo are fabulous hosts - how they run the farm, manage a game reserve, sort the archives, restore the house, care for 1,000 people living on the estate, work with NGOs to improve the facilities in the area and still be available throughout the day to be the perfect hosts is unbelievable.
We spent three days with them and it wasn't enough. Over breakfast, lunch and dinner with Charlie and Jo we managed to get a small insight to the remarkable place and Charlie's family. It is an incredible operation. We also met some of their friends - some passing through and some resident on the estate.
The meals were great, totally from locally produced ingredients.
Well worth the visit to see a totally different part of Zambia from the Luangwa Valley and to get to know in a small way a remarkable couple. We didn't have enough time in the archives and we look forward to reading Jo's account of life in Shiwa from Sir Stewart Gore- Browne's arrival to the current day. Keep writing Jo!"
Fabulous trip, Expert Africa made it
Namibia and 1 other country between 18 Jul 2007 and 8 Aug 2007
Maruska recommended exactly the type of accomodation we wanted and suggested a great mix of differing experiences. We were delighted in particular that she recommended Etendeka to us - just wish we could have stayed longer.
And the Mokoro Trail in the Okavanga is out of this world"
"Comfortable base to start trip from Windhoek"
Staff were friendly, rooms very spacious, nicely yet simply decorated.
Some road noise especialyl commented by other guests with rooms closer to the side road
Location appeared a little off the beaten track but seemed safe once we were used to Windhoek. Great to be close to Joes Beer House for dinner!"
Kulala Wilderness Camp, Namibia (this camp has since closed)
"Great base to visit the dunes"
Our guide Johan was excellent and made our trip to the dunes far more enjoyable than if we had gone alone - including encouraging us to climb Big Daddy at Dead Vlei!
Would recommend booking the activity to visit dunes with them - saves time getting in at dawn. Sundown activity drive isn't worth the money. Would book full board versus buying activities separately"
Lodge not featured by Expert Africa
Sea Breeze Guesthouse
"Comfortable B&B just outside Windhoek"
"Good Wilderness camp but less friendly"
Were flexible in arrannging for us to visit the rock engravings and desert elephants in one trip - though it was freezing cold in the early morning fog!"
Etendeka Mountain Camp
"Must Stay location - fabulous"
Fabulous and informative hiking in the morning and great animal viewing in the afternoon - so different from Etosha; were rally lucky to see a leopard as well as herds of Hartmann Zebra and giraffe etc
Two days is too short"
"Good base to visit Etosha"
Staff seemed not to care about service
But probably better than staying outside the park and evening waterhole was great"
"OK lodge in goodlocation"
Staff were sullen and unhelpful in restaurant and again very little to buy if self catering. Snack bar closes for lunch
But saw fabulous game driving around the area - many lion, black rhino etc And the sight of 40+ elephant at the watering hole at night was amazing plus rhino
New chalets are clean and nice
Worth at least a night"
"Ok stopping point acroos from Etosha"
On this particular evening, they comment that a number of the staff and guests were sitting around the fire and socializing, and had a wonderful time – and a staff member still took the guests on a ‘night walk’ on the walking trail. (The activities are all noted on a pin-up board at reception.)
Ndhovu Safari Lodge
"Great lodge in nice location next to the rive"
Staff were keen to help and the owner was very welcoming and helpful.
Definitely do the village trip with one of the local staff. It was done in a very thoughtful way - you didn't feel you were intruding but learned a lot about the local way of life. We were really pleased we did it.
Would recommend as a place to stop off at for a couple of days - didn't try the game viewing in the local park as we had come from Etosha"
Marinas Camp, Botswana (this camp has since closed)
"Small B&B outside Maun but run down"
Food was quite nice but wouldn't recommend as a place to stay
But close to the airport"
Lodge not featured by Expert Africa
Kanana Mokoro Trail, Botswana (this camp has since closed)
"MUST DO way to see the Delta"
Location was amazing - 40 mins mokoro trip from nearest camp on a small island where everything was set up in s simple but remarkably effective way. Not what we expected for 'camping out' in the delta. Being greeted with a gin and tonic was a good start!
The whole staff made an exceptional job to make us feel at home and ensure we reallt enjoyed every moment. How the cook produces such stunning meals including fresh bread and cakes baking on embers I will never know. Paul, the guide (see references to him at Footsteps camp), was knowledgable with infectious enthusiasm and really 'read' us and what we wanted. We felt we were truly 'feeling' the delta without any over sensitivity on safety
Mokoro trails with Abulance and Chief were great - they did absolutely everything they could to find the animlas and birds for us, punting through the thickest reeds we had seen. Sitatunga, Pels Fishing Owl, Fish eagle etc, they found the lot. And hippos look a lot larger from a mokoro!
Overall an incredibly relaxing experience, visiting extraordinary scenery and wildlife, with every possible help from the staff. Cannot recommend it too much. Oh and a large bull elephant coming through the camp at night walking around the drinks table was memorable!"
Lodge not featured by Expert Africa
Pom Pom Camp
"Pom Pom review"
Felt staff were going through a set script rather than relaxing and going with the guests. We couldn't move for risk of safety - quite a contrast to our time at Ndhovo camp and the mokoro trail camp. You couldn't even walk to your tent in case there were animals within 20 feet - which clearly there weren't.
Trips out were too short, delivered to a set speech, surrounded by other mokoros or jeeps which ruined the experience.
if you want a very tame, totally safe, comfortable camp with nice food then this is the one for you. It wasn't the one for us."
Ian Batchelor private guided us and he was excellent and made the visit a most memorable experience. We had fabulous walking experiences tracking lion, elephant and buffalo, ably tracked by Confidence. The rhino were evident but elusive! Ian also sparked our interest in the birds - seeing over 85 species in our 5 days. We would very much recommend Ian as a guide and host.
Private guiding in Save
As noted Ian was an excellent guide and host. By the time we left we felt we’d known him for years. Nothing was an issue for him and he was fully focused on giving us the best possible experience. It amazes us how the best guides are as passionate and excited about sightings as we are, and truly dedicated to the preservation and sharing of the wildlife.
He works extremely well with his tracker, Confidence, to provide a great walking experience.
We learned a lot from Ian and the time flew by. We hope we can travel with Ian again before long."