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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs JR from Australia

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

6

Excursions taken

0

A memorable and well organised trip

Tanzania between 15 Sep 2015 and 18 Oct 2015

Trip rating: Excellent
"Overall, our trip was a most enjoyable and memorable experience, and we would have no hesitation in recommending Expert Africa to other travellers.

Our advisor Ellie was knowledgeable and helpful, and was mindful of the fact that we were hoping to have high quality wildlife experiences but that we did not have an unlimited budget. She made many helpful suggestions, and was very successful in meeting our aims. I spoke to Chris at one time, and he made some helpful suggestions which we later appreciated, particularly about flying from Arusha directly to Ruaha, and not taking the Dar Express to Dar first (which was our original plan so that we might visit the Usambara Mountains, but this would not have been feasible in the time available). Ellie's planning was very thorough, and everything worked smoothly.

The only thing that didn't work was that the mailed package did not arrive in time before we left. It would have been better to allow more time.

Ubuntu and Kwihala were easily the most professional people we stayed with, and we thoroughly enjoyed staying at their two tented camps. Please pass this comment on to them. Both managers, staff and guides were excellent at both camps.
The only reservation we had was about our first guide, Kevin. He was quite pleasant and was also fairly knowledgeable about wildlife and birds. However, he has been a guide for some time, and seemed to be going through the motions a fair bit, and was not particularly enthusiastic (certainly compared to other guides we have used). He did not usually proffer a lot of information on his own initiative, apart from an excellent dissertation about the Rift Valley. He would provide information when we asked, but we had specifically told him we were interested in everything, including local culture.

When we were driving along in Tarangire (in particular) and Ngorongoro, he was not constantly scanning as the best guides do.He would often just drive along, frequently listening to the CB radio which tended to be on all the time. I would often spot things he would not, and I know from using other guides that my eyes are nowhere near as good as the best guides' eyes.
I know that guides use the CB radio for communication, but we got the sense he was using it (constantly) more for his own interest, and it became very annoying on occasions. We may be wrong there, but as we were starting to descend into Ngorongo Crater in the early morning light, I asked him to turn off the radio so we could enjoy the experience but he didn't hear or notice.

He did do a more thorough job in Lake Manyara, and we were happy with our safari experience there.

We don't necessarily want to cause a problem for Kevin, as he has his good points. However, we also have a number of specific complaints.

On our first night's stay in Sopa Lodge in Tarangire, we had to ask the management for some more bottled water. We found out the next day that Kevin had a large supply of bottled water on board, but he failed to inform us of this. He claimed he did, but my wife and I are quite aware of the importance of water, and he certainly didn't inform us.

On the way to Tarangire when we arrived at the big tourist shop where everybody stops, he made a beeline for the coffee bar for his free coffee. We don't begrudge him this, but he left us to our own devices (which is fine), but he had not really informed us of what was going on, or asked whether we might like a coffee, or indicated how long we would be there. This attitude contrasted with the few other guides we have used, who would make sure you were informed and were looked after.

Lastly, on the second morning during breakfast, he picked up my Nikon camera with its telephoto lens attached and played around with it for a short while. He did this without asking. As it happens, I was surprised but I didn't take exception to it as I could see he wasn't going to do any harm. However, I thought a lot of photographers I know would take exception to it, particularly as he could inadvertently damage something.

The above are all fairly minor gripes in the overall safari experience. As I said, Kevin was quite personable and pleasant, and we generally got on well. However, we believe his performance would be improved if he was more aware of his clients' requirements and showed greater enthusiasm and a little more "gung ho" attitude to do his best for his clients."

Tarangire Sopa Lodge

Tarangire Sopa Lodge

"A most enjoyable stay"

2 nights Arrived 16 Sep 2015
"We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Tarangire Sopa Lodge.
There was a courteous and warm welcome, and the staff were unfailingly polite and helpful throughout our stay. The facilities were of a very high standard, and we enjoyed the view and outlook from our upstairs room. The food was excellent and offered a wide variety of cuisine, particularly at breakfast, which was most appreciated.
The manager was most obliging and allowed me to use his computer to transfer photos to an external hard drive, which was most appreciated.
We very much enjoyed the impromptu singing and dancing performance put on by the staff one evening.
We had a little trouble accessing the wifi at times, but once we were shown the protocol, it became better.
The lodge has a really nice garden and surrounds. It also has an attractive swimming pool. We enjoyed watching the birdlife and animals, including an elephant, that utilised the gardens."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kirurumu Manyara Lodge

Kirurumu Manyara Lodge

"Kirurumu Manyara Lodge review"

1 night Arrived 18 Sep 2015
"Situated on the ridge-line, this tented camp offers stunning views over the Rift Valley and, in the middle distance, Lake Manyara.
Some tents have more unimpeded views than others, and our tent had quite good views from the verandah.
The tent was moderately basic but quite serviceable, and was reached after a short walk through the bush from the main centre. We appreciated the fact that the tents are set in a bush environment, and we observed a variety of birds around the lodge.
The food was quite good, although of limited choice.
We went on a most enjoyable guided walk with the Maasai guard/guide that was on offer. It went through a short section of grazing land to a small adjoining village and then on to the edge of the escarpment. We obtained a really good view down the Rift Valley from this point. Our guide was most approachable and answered a host of questions about the Maasai way of life, the local village (not a Maasai village) and local birds. Altogether, a worthwhile activity."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Average
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Facilities
Good
Rhotia Valley Tented Lodge

Rhotia Valley Tented Lodge

"Comfortable accommodtion and worthwhile cause"

2 nights Arrived 19 Sep 2015
"We enjoyed our stay at Rhotia Valley Tented Lodge. Our tent was comfortable with good facilities. It had an excellent view over the valley and up to the neighboring Children's Home.
The staff were friendly and obliging although the local manager at the desk was tardy about returning our change and in fact we never received it. We also thought this local manager was fairly relaxed about providing high quality service. Our only request was for ordinary black tea (as is found everywhere). He was out of these teabags on our first night, but still hadn't bothered to get any by the next night.
The food was good and the lounge chairs and fireplace added a homely aspect.
The lodge is situated about 45 minutes drive from the Lodware entrance gate to Ngogorgoro Crater, which necessitates an early start to an early morning drive into the crater. However, we still recommend a stay here as it is located in a pleasant valley and proceeds from the tented lodge helps support the very worthwhile children's home, which provided housing and education to orphans."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Average
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Ubuntu Camp

Ubuntu Camp

"Great camp and excellent staff"

4 nights Arrived 21 Sep 2015
"We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Ubuntu camp. The experience was heightened by the sense of being in your own part of the northern Serengeti, well removed from other camps and vehicles.
The whole staff were extremely professional, friendly, courteous and helpful, and would go out of their way to make sure your stay was a pleasant one.
The facilities were excellent and the food was varied and of an extremely high standard. It was indeed most pleasant dining out under the stars at the end of a day's safari.
The camp was well located and it was enjoyable lying in your tent at night listening to the grazing wildebeest and zebras calling to each other.
The safaris were well planned and our guide Lucas went to great lengths to place us in prime locations for viewing and photography.
All up, this was a most memorable and enjoyable experience. Special thanks to David, the camp manager, and to Lucas our guide."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kwihala Camp

Kwihala Camp

"Great animal viewing in a remote park."

4 nights Arrived 25 Sep 2015
"We had a superb time at Kwihala Camp in Ruaha National Park. The young manager was most welcoming and professional, as were all the staff.
Our guide Lorenzo was brilliant and went to great lengths to get us good views of both the animals and birds (which we were also interested in). He was both observant and very knowledgeable, and all our safaris were excellent.
The food was quite outstanding, both in variety and quality. It was also very healthy food, which we appreciated."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Lake Manze Adventure Camp

Lake Manze Adventure Camp

"A well-situated camp in Selous Game Reserve"

3 nights Arrived 29 Sep 2015
"Overall, we enjoyed our time at Lake Manze Adventure Camp.
The highlight for us were the safaris and our friendly guide and driver.
Our safaris and boat trip were most enjoyable and we were fortunate to have Joseph as our guide. He is knowledgeable and also interested in birds, as we had a particular interest in birds as well as animals. Our driver Daniel was also keen to learn about birds, which is commendable. Together, we managed to get interesting views of a wide variety of wildlife and birds.
On our boat trip, we enjoyed close up views of hippos and crocodiles, as well as a good variety of waterbirds. It was very pleasant being out on the water as sunset approached.
The view from our tent over Lake Manze was affected by the very low water level at the time, which meant that it was largely dry near the camp.
The facilities in our tent were generally functional but somewhat basic. We found the lighting inside the tent to be inadequate for our purposes, as it consisted of 2 candles, a kerosene lamp in the bathroom,and a solar torch which didn't work on our first night. It was fortunate that we had two small torches ourselves, as it was difficult to find clothes, etc. in your pack in the low light. We would definitely recommend brighter solar/LED lights in the tents.
We also found the floor mats to be slippery, which could cause an accident for older folks like ourselves.
Once we had got used to the setup, we enjoyed the experience of staying in our tent. We would have appreciated a fuller initial briefing, as we weren't sure which of the two taps in the shower was the hot water tap, as they weren't marked.
The communal dining was enjoyable. The food was served for you, and on more than one occasion, we found the serve of the main protein component, e.g., fish or chicken, put on your plate to be quite small, or even minimal.
We were not sure whether the waiter was acting under instructions (we were informed that at least some of the waiters were in training, which is fine) but the initial serves to us, and on one occasion. to a neighbour, were far from generous. The waiters would come around a second time and offer more food, but this was usually of potatoes, rice, etc."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Average
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Average
Food
Average
Facilities
Average

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