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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs D from Hampshire

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

2

Countries visited

3

Lodges stayed in

19

Excursions taken

5

A very enjoyable trip to Tanzania

Tanzania and 1 other country between 31 Aug 2019 and 15 Sep 2019

Trip rating: Excellent
"This trip to Tanzania for a safari followed by time relaxing on Zanzibar, was a long-planned trip for my brother and I, and our wives. My wife and I had previous experience of safaris, but my brother did not, so I felt the pressure of "getting it right". We decided to plan it with Expert Africa following a previous very successful trip planned with their help, and I am delighted we made that decision. A meeting with Expert Africa's Olivia helped her to perfectly judge our requirements, and the result was a highly successful holiday that exceeded all our expectations."

Rivertrees Country Inn

Rivertrees Country Inn

"Good facilities but poor staff attitude"

1 night Arrived 2 Sep 2019
"Expert Africa had informed all of our lodges/camps that my sister in law had a gluten intolerance, and on arrival at Rivertrees we reminded them of this. Reception promised to speak with the chef. At dinner that night our first course was delivered, and it was clear that no allowance had been made for the gluten intolerance, and no other alternative was offered. We asked the waiter to ensure that for the main course a suitable meal would be provided. It was not, but the waiter attempted to point out which parts of the meal could be eaten. No alternative was offered despite our requests. Ditto third course. At the end of the meal I made it firmly but politely clear that we were not satisfied, at which point the waiter asked us not to forget his gratuity. I thought I might have misheard him so I said "Excuse me?", and he replied, "People often forget my gratuity".

In the morning I got up half an hour before breakfast started, to speak with the kitchen to ensure that a suitable breakfast would be provided, reminding them of what had happened the previous evening. The response was very offhand. When we arrived for breakfast we were told that it was a buffet, and gluten free items were available, but these were not pointed out or explained. I had hoped that after the previous evening an attempt would have been made to rectify the situation, but sadly not."
Poor
Location
Excellent
Service
Poor
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Safari in Arusha National Park

Safari in Arusha National Park

"Safari in Arusha National Park review"

2 Sep 2019 • All-day excursion

See previous page. We particularly enjoyed the opportunity to walk in the bush rather than be driven, and were disappointed that for some reason this had been cut from five hours to two. The ranger and young trainee guide were excellent, and I am sure that a longer walk as planned would have been a very special experience. The afternoon drive was in retrospect a little tame, compared with drives later in the week. This is not a reflection on our driver/guide.
Good
Rhotia Valley Tented Lodge

Rhotia Valley Tented Lodge

"Do make time to visit the orphanage"

1 night Arrived 3 Sep 2019
"Rhotia Lodge is run by a Dutch couple who fund an orphanage on the same site. The orphanage also has a farm, and both the lodge and the orphanage benefit from fresh homegrown food. It is a wonderful experience to meet the children, aged from infant to teens. Use any space you have in your suitcases to take out items they need - the website lists their up to date requirements.

The tent is luxurious and very comfortable, and you can choose to sleep with the side flap down so you wake to the sunrise - very special. All of the staff are delightful - kind, helpful, and very interested in their guests. The food is superb. All in all a wonderful experience. We were on our way to Ngorongoro to stay at Sopa lodge so will list wildlife sightings there."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Lake Manyara Safari

Lake Manyara Safari

"Great for Hippo spotting"

3 Sep 2019 • All-day excursion

A very enjoyable few hours at Lake Manyara. Relaxing and laid back, with an amazing hippo pool with about 70 hippos in residence at the time. We could have watched them for hours.
Excellent
Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge

Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge

"Perfect location for Ngorongoro"

2 nights Arrived 4 Sep 2019
"A perfect location for a visit to the crater. The lodge is excellent (much better than expected). Very good accommodation, excellent food, helpful friendly staff - it couldn't be better. A tip: spend two nights here to guarantee a full day in the crater. We had an eleven hour crater visit and it was every bit as good as we had hoped."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Safari in Ngorongoro Crater

Safari in Ngorongoro Crater

"Eleven hours crater visit - superb"

5 Sep 2019 • All-day excursion

This and the migration were our main reasons for choosing this trip, and Ngorongoro did not disappoint. The range and volume of wildlife seen runs the risk of making most other safari locations seem tame. In fact if you were really short on time you could fly into Ngorongoro for a couple of days, then hop to the Northern Serengeti for another couple of days, and you would be almost guaranteed to see the vast majority of wildlife available. And amazingly there are clean flush toilets at various locations in the crater which is important if you want to stay there all day!
Excellent
Lemala Ewanjan

Lemala Ewanjan

"Great location, friendly camp."

1 night Arrived 6 Sep 2019
"This was an excellent camp - friendly, helpful staff, good food, good accommodation, and a great base for central Serengeti wildlife viewing."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Olduvai Gorge visit

Olduvai Gorge visit

"Olduvai Gorge visit review"

6 Sep 2019 • Morning excursion

The museum here is new and very interesting, and the talk by a local guide is quite good. I feel a bit more could have been made of this, perhaps by more involvement of the visitors, and/or a visit into the gorge rather than just looking from the rim.
Good
Ubuntu Camp

Ubuntu Camp

"Unique location and wonderful staff"

3 nights Arrived 7 Sep 2019
"Ubuntu will spoil you for staying anywhere else. Its huge strength is its staff, who could not do enough for us. All seem genuinely delighted to see you, and to do anything which helps make your stay there special. My sister-in- law was ill while there (nothing to do with Ubuntu) and the genuine care and concern of the Ubuntu staff was amazing. The tent is very comfortable, almost luxurious, and being able to go to sleep listening to all the sounds of Africa is a unique experience. Morning tea or coffee delivered to your tent! Food is outstanding. We would happily have stayed there for a further week.

This is the camp to go to to see the migration river crossings, which we were lucky enough to see on three separate occasions, but there are no guarantees on this - some visitors the previous week had watched the animals collect in their thousands at the river bank, but not be able to overcome their fear of the crocodiles and make the crossing."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Pongwe Beach Hotel

Pongwe Beach Hotel

"Luxurious end to a safari"

3 nights Arrived 10 Sep 2019
"A luxurious hotel, ideal to relax for a few days at the end of a safari. A beautiful beach, good food, good staff. Nowhere to go to from the hotel without a taxi, so probably best to restrict to a few days of chilling."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Zanzibar Coffee House

Zanzibar Coffee House

"Unique and fabulous stop in Stonetown"

1 night Arrived 13 Sep 2019
"We were lucky enough to get the "brochure picture" room, which was without a doubt the most beautiful room we have ever stayed in, but I suspect all rooms would have been restored in a similar style. Coffee is roasted on the premises, and served in a wide range of options. The rooftop tower room for breakfast is delightful, and food is all homemade and of a very high quality. Staff are friendly and helpful. A perfect base for a day or two in Stonetown."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent

My Sep 2015 trip

Namibia between 9 Sep 2015 and 4 Oct 2015

Trip rating: Excellent
"We returned from our trip saying that we would have done nothing differently, which is rare.

I suspect this is because of our discussions with Expert Africa staff who took the time to find out exactly what we wanted, and then planned the trip accordingly.

I cannot speak highly enough about the planning and organisation which had obviously gone into this trip. Thank you again Martha."

River Crossing

River Crossing

"Superb overnight option for Windhoek"

2 nights Arrived 10 Sep 2015
"River Crossing makes an excellent first night stop, just outside Windhoek, yet close enough to visit the city easily. Superb rooms overlooking the valley.

Very good food, and helpful staff."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
BullsPort Lodge & Farm

BullsPort Lodge & Farm

"A chance to stay on a working farm"

2 nights Arrived 12 Sep 2015
"The owners have been farming in the area for generations. Dinners are held in the dining room with guests and owners around a large table. The opportunity to chat with them during dinner about every day Namibian issues such as water shortages is something that a hotel stay would not provide, and helped us understand the country and the people far better.

Very impressed to see that a percentage of each night's accommodation charges is passed on to the local Nama community to help with education and training.

The Quiver Tree Gorge drive and walk was excellent - recommended."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Hoodia Desert Lodge

Hoodia Desert Lodge

"Hoodia Is Something Very Special"

2 nights Arrived 14 Sep 2015
"I was initially a little disappointed that we had not managed to get accommodation inside the Sossusvlei gates, because I had wanted to be there for sunrise over the dunes. In practice we were there very shortly afterwards, and I did not feel that we missed very much. And Hoodia Desert Lodge is ample compensation. I

t is owned and managed on a daily basis by Thomas, an ex London and New York interior designer, and the sense of style he has built into all aspects of the lodge and its rooms is outstanding. This is coupled with a standard of welcome and service which was certainly the best on this trip and in fact rivalled anywhere else we have stayed in the world. The second bathroom open to the stars was a particular treat, and Hoodia was definitely the accommodation highlight of the trip.

We had intended to drive into Sossusvlei in our own 4x4, but chose to go in a small group in Hoodia's own vehicle with their guide Michael - a fascinating and highly knowledgeable man. I would strongly recommend this if Michael is available."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Swakopmund Guesthouse

Swakopmund Guesthouse

"Swakopmund Guesthouse review"

2 nights Arrived 16 Sep 2015
"Swakopmund was our least favourite place in Namibia, but that is not due to Swakopmund Guesthouse. The guesthouse is perfectly adequate, but perhaps a little sterile and characterless.

We had two nights in Swapokmund and felt that was one too many.

Whilst here, we organised a Pelican Point Kayaking trip for these travellers. They commented:

Get your fingers nibbled by baby seals
A real highlight of the trip. Jeanne who runs these kayaking trips with her husband has been doing it for years and has perfected it. Everything you might need is provided and you are guaranteed to see seals close up - baby seals will even come up and nibble your fingers if you want them to - which I did! If you are lucky you may see dolphins too. Jeanne takes photos of you in your two-man kayak and emails them to you that evening. The drive out to the launch point goes past bays full of pink flamingos.

Highly recommended."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Kayaking with seals

Kayaking with seals

"Get your fingers nibbled by baby seals"

17 Sep 2015 • Morning excursion

A real highlight of the trip. Jeanne who runs these kayaking trips with her husband has been doing it for years and has perfected it. Everything you might need is provided and you are guaranteed to see seals close up - baby seals will even come up and nibble your fingers if you want them to - which I did! If you are lucky you may see dolphins too. Jeanne takes photos of you in your two-man kayak and emails them to you that evening. The drive out to the launch point goes past bays full of pink flamingos. Highly recommended.
Excellent
Damaraland Camp

Damaraland Camp

"Damaraland Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 18 Sep 2015
"A semi-wilderness camp in luxury en-suite tents, each with their own verandah looking down the valley. Excellent food and service from a team of staff who seemed to love their work and were keen to explain everything about the camp and the area.

On our second night all of the staff sang to the guests after dinner. The first couple of songs were probably arranged as part of the evening but the next half dozen songs were clearly because they were enjoying it so much! Very memorable.

Safari drives excellent."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Etendeka Mountain Camp

Etendeka Mountain Camp

"Unique wilderness camp opportunity"

3 nights Arrived 20 Sep 2015
"If you can possibly fit Etendeka into your schedule, do so, because it is a unique opportunity to stay in a wilderness camp with a host, Dennis, who is legendary in having helped develop the whole wildlife conservancy concept that so much of Namibia's tourism is based on.

The terrain to reach Etendeka is so rough that they come to collect you in their own 4x4 from a point a couple of hours from the camp. Once there you will sleep in a comfortable tent with an attached outside toilet and shower - more than adequate. The sensation of standing on a mountain top next morning and realising that however far you look in any direction, there is no other habitation, is what Etendeka is all about.

An en-expected bonus is that due to the lack of light pollution, the opportunity for star gazing is exceptional, and Dennis will be delighted to demonstrate his very sophisticated telescope.

Plenty of wildlife, but the solitude is the primary attraction here."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Hobatere Lodge

Hobatere Lodge

"Hobatere Lodge review"

2 nights Arrived 23 Sep 2015
"This report is for Expert Africa in the hope that you can influence Hobatere to change. We really want Hobatere to be a success. The fact that it is being run and managed by the community is exactly what we were looking for in Namibia, but it was far from full when we were there and unless they can reach the standards of the competition this is likely to remain the case.

We have rated this lodge as good, because it had many very good aspects, but it had significant issues of a kind we did not encounter anywhere else in Namibia. We were told that Hobatere had re-opened this year after being closed for several years. A fire had destroyed the original main building hence the closure, and the lodge had now been taken over by the community, and a superb new main building built looking out towards the water-hole. We suspect this was part of the problem - the building had been built to a very high specification, and it looked as if everything had been spent on this, and nothing was left for the rooms (separate thatched cottages).

When we were shown our room we were proudly told that when Hobatere was reopened, the rooms "had not needed anything more than dusting down the cobwebs". Sadly I'm afraid they did. It was clear that maintenance had been skipped for some time - trying to turn on a stiff shower valve unscrewed it from the wall instead, and I had to temporarily fix it with my Leatherman before I could shower. The mosquito grills over the bathroom windows (no glass) were in tatters, and most seriously, there were no mosquito nets in the rooms. Despite soaking ourselves in deet we were badly bitten in the night.

A second issue concerned staff training. Staff were very friendly and helpful, but there was almost a feeling that the regular staff were away, and it was being run by the work-experience kids i.e. enthusiastic but a bit chaotic and ill-trained. I have to say that this did not bother us in the slightest, but it will definitely bother some of the type of clientele that they will hope to attract.

A third issue concerns what might be called a casual attitude to Health and Safety. The lodge has an observation tower directly overlooking the water hole. It can be accessed by driving out to it, and then climbing up an external ladder into the tower. The lodge offers to drive guests out there, get them safely into the tower, and leave them there until they radio to be picked up. This is a fantastic opportunity to watch and photograph a huge variety of animals at close range, including elephants and lions. When we asked if we could be taken out they said they only had one vehicle, which was in use, but we could drive ourselves out there and climb the tower. As we approached the tower we saw that it was surrounded by about a dozen elephants including a mother with a baby. We know enough about wildlife to stop at a distance and wait until the herd had moved away from the tower, and it was safe to exit the car, walk to the tower and climb the ladder. However we had been given no instructions on this, and if someone had assumed that "we've been allowed to do this so it must be safe", then there could have been a tragic incident. Organised properly the tower could be a real asset to the lodge - as it is it is an accident waiting to happen."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Average
Activities
Average
Rooms
Average
Food
Good
Facilities
Average
Okaukuejo Camp

Okaukuejo Camp

"Okaukuejo Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 25 Sep 2015
"We expected Okaukuejo Camp to be pretty indifferent with it being run by the National Park, but in fact it was excellent.

We found the standard of service was good, the accommodation good, and the illuminated waterhole superb.

Okaukuejo's location, in the middle of Etosha, is of course why people choose to stay there, but it certainly exceeded our expectations. The wildlife viewings at the waterholes around Okaukuejo are exceptional and I would stay there again if I re-visited Etosha."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Halali Camp

Halali Camp

"Halali Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 27 Sep 2015
"Like Okaukuejo, Halali camp is run by the National Park, so our expectations were not high, but in fact it was pretty good in all respects.

Accommodation, food and service were not exceptional, but were all more than adequate."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Mushara Bush Camp

Mushara Bush Camp

"Mushara Bush Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 29 Sep 2015
"Mushara Bush Camp is set just outside the National Park, and makes a very good base for seeing Northern Etosha.

We found this part of Etosha to be perhaps less attractive and with less wildlife viewing possibilities than the central Etosha area, but if you are driving right through Etosha it is a convenient overnight location.

The luxury tented en suite accommodation is well laid out in the grounds, and staff are exceptionally helpful and friendly. Food is excellent, particularly an outdoor barbecue meal on the second night."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Okonjima Plains Camp

Okonjima Plains Camp

"Okonjima Plains Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 1 Oct 2015
"This can not fail to be a highlight of anyone's visit to Namibia. Okonjima is the location of Afri-Cat, an organisation whose aim is both to rescue big cats, but also to educate the population of Namibia about how to co-exist with big cats. Orphaned and injured leopards and cheetahs have been released into a vast area of land owned by Okonjima.

Staying here is an opportunity to go out tracking leopard and cheetah with one of the resident guides in one of their vehicles, or even at times on foot. The animals have radio collars which help in tracking them down, but it is still far from straightforward, as the areas in which they can travel are just so large. There are probably few places where the opportunities for seeing leopard and cheetah in the wild are as good as this.

The accommodation is outstanding, with each lodge having its own picture window and terrace overlooking the bush, and animals such as wart hogs and springbok coming right up to the terrace. Food and service are also exceptional."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Olive Grove

Olive Grove

"Olive Grove review"

1 night Arrived 3 Oct 2015
"A charming, quirky, small hotel full of character.

We arrived hoping to watch the England - Australia World Cup rugby match so were delighted to find a big TV and cable in the room. Unfortunately it was not working but the young manager spent a large part of the afternoon chasing the cable company and fiddling with the TV in an attempt to get it to work. In the end he booked us a table at a nearby bar/restaurant where we were able to watch the match with locals, and the atmosphere was much better than watching it in the room anyway!

The room itself was huge - in face calling it a suite is probably more accurate, and some lovely touches such as port and chocolates left in our room for us to come back to after the restaurant. A good central location, ideal for a last night in Namibia before flying home."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent

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