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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by J & M from Portland

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

2

Lodges stayed in

3

Excursions taken

0

Our first trip to Tanzania

Tanzania and 1 other country between 31 May 2015 and 9 Jun 2015

Trip rating: Excellent
"This was a trip we've been thinking about for 15 years, but when it finally came time to pull the trigger, I honestly didn't know where to start.

James was outstanding from the very beginning — helping me to shape the trip and offering some great suggestions on when and where to go. He was super patient with all my questions along the way, and we always felt like we were in the best hands."

Southern Sun Dar

Southern Sun Dar

"Southern Sun Dar review"

1 night Arrived 31 May 2015
"After the long trip from the western US to Dar, this was a terrific place to grab a nice meal, a little looking around, and a nice rest before setting out.

The highlight is certainly the adjacent botanical garden, and we were lucky enough to get a tour from the groundskeeper who explained everything we were seeing and even picked a couple little fruits for us.

While we weren't there long enough to take in much of the city, it was just a short walk to the water to watch the sun go down.

The staff was very friendly and helpful, and the breakfast was great."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Mdonya Old River Camp

Mdonya Old River Camp

"Mdonya Old River Camp review"

4 nights Arrived 1 Jun 2015
"I can't say enough good things about Mdonya.

Arriving at the Ruaha air strip we were greeted by Prosper and Emmanuel who would be our guide and driver for our entire trip. They drove us just a short way to a nice covered area by the Ruaha river and set up the first of what would be steady stream of delicious meals. After lunch they took us on a short game drive as we made our way to the camp. It became apparently right away that having a separate guide and drive was a huge advantage as it let Emmanuel do his expert work of keeping the truck pointing forward, while Prosper was able to use his seemingly endless knowledge of the wildlife and vegetation to explain nearly everything we set our eyes on.

Before I go too much further, I just want to say that Prosper and Emmanuel were absolutely terrific over our entire trip. They took our endless questions with knowledge and good humor, and were just excellent companions for our trip. Having our bush breakfasts and lunches with their company was a joy. On our first full day out, the truck we were in broke down just about as far out from camp as we could have been. Once they realized we'd be stuck for a bit, they went out a bit and found a lovely shade tree, set up a table, chairs, and lunch, and made what could have been rough outing into a charming little adventure. Again, I can't say enough about how great they both were.

Once we got to camp, we were greeted at the gate (as we were each time we returned) by managers Rebecca and Andrea. The trend in service started with Prosper and Emmanuel was continued here and both Rebecca and Andrea were outstanding hosts. We knew we were arriving early, but it turned out we were the first visitors of the season and would be the only guests for a few days. Given this, it might have been reasonable to expect the camp to hold back a bit until they had more guests, but the opposite was true: we spent our first two days in camp having amazing breakfasts and dinners with Rebecca and Andrea - just the 4 of of us sitting out under the stars with great food and great conversation. Both of them are clearly passionate about the camp, the animals, and the land - and it's something that comes through and makes for a special experience.

Speaking of meals - the food was amazing. Both my finance and I are vegetarian and the camp was not only accommodating, they seemed to go out their way to come up with dishes that novel and delicious.

As for the camp itself, it's terrific. Luxurious in all the ways one might want, but nothing that makes you feel disconnected from nature. As others have mentioned, all the animals make their way through the camp, and while were there we were lucky enough to have a couple elephants, a few gazelle, and even a couple hyena visit. We've heard it's not uncommon to see even more! We were a little worried going into this that it might be a little nerve racking to have so much wildlife wandering about the camp as we slept, but the opposite turned out to be true: it's a really magical experience and left us feeling really connected to wilderness around us. We toyed with the idea of staying a lodge, but are so glad we picked Mdonya instead. If you're goal with your safari is experience something that is perhaps close to what it might have been like to visit this area 100 years ago - the sounds, the animals, but also the style and the comfort of a top flight camp - this is your place.

If it sounds like I'm gushing - I am. I love this place, I may have gained about 10 pounds with all the great food, but I can't wait to come back."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Shooting Star Lodge

Shooting Star Lodge

"Shooting Star Lodge review"

4 nights Arrived 5 Jun 2015
"What a terrific place!

I could tell you about how wonderful it is to lounge in the infinity pool overlooking the ocean and just watch the fishermen on the horizon, or how beautifully quaint the sea view cottages are. I could tell you about how nice it is to wander the grounds at night with sand paths under your feet. Or about finishing off a swim in the ocean by rolling into the beach-side bar for a drink. But honestly, none of those things is what made this place special for me.

Instead it's the people and the casual energy of the place that makes staying here feel like you're staying at a friends villa. Elly, the manager, sets the tone with an easygoing charm, that carries through to the rest of the staff. Everyone treated us like friends the whole time were there, right down to Linky the cat and Elly's dogs who lounge about the lodge and are alway happy for a bit of a pet as you pass.

It's possible you could find a fancier place to stay, but for me, that would defeat the point: the best part of Zanzibar isn't the beaches (though they're terrific) it's the people, and the Shooting Star brings everything that seems great about the culture of the island into one place."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent

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