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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr Y & Mr T from San Fran

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

2

Lodges stayed in

5

Excursions taken

0

Outstanding in every respect!!

Namibia and 1 other country between 28 Jun 2016 and 11 Jul 2016

Trip rating: Excellent
"Having enjoyed wildlife-oriented safaris in both Southern and Eastern Africa, we wanted to focus our adventures in Namibia on that country's breathtaking scenery.

Expert Africa personnel (first Martha Young and Chris McIntyre; and later Tracy Lederer) did a superb job organising our three-lodge itinerary . . . Little Kulala; Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp; and Serra Cafema. Namibian lodges do not offer over-the-top luxuries (unlike high-end camps in Botswana, South Africa, et al), but we were totally pleased with our accommodations at all three lodges.

Hospitality was uniformly top-notch, and all 18 meals we consumed at the lodges were imaginatively prepared and delicious. Wilderness Safaris, the local operator responsible for our travel arrangements in Namibia, offered seamless service, from the moment our plane landed in Windhoek to our departure to Johannesburg ten days later.

Likewise, we thoroughly enjoyed the Rwandan segment of our holiday. Our only complaint (a minor one) is Virunga Lodge's kitchen, whose offerings were mediocre at best. Every other aspect of our Virunga Lodge stay was entirely satisfactory.

Our local guide/driver did an excellent job "negotiating" gorilla treks that matched our physical limitations. With his help, we were assigned easier families to visit and, thus, completed both our treks around three hours. We were not displeased with our, but we did notice slightly newer and seemingly more comfortable vehicles offered by other companies.

Don't know the differential between their rates and the other companies' but, given the long drive from Kigali to the Volcanoes area and, in particular, the bone-jarring ride to Virunga Lodge, we might have been tempted with a more comfortable option."

Little Kulala

Little Kulala

"Little Kulala: Luxury Amongst Amazing Dunes"

3 nights Arrived 28 Jun 2016
"Little Kulala was our first Namibian lodge and, thanks to excellent advice from Expert Africa, it was a most suitable first stop to begin our adventures. LK is luxurious but not in an ostentatious manner. The lodge's main areas and our suite were spacious and offered all necessary comforts.

Owing to my bad knee, we asked for a suite closest to the main reception/dining areas, which we enjoyed for the last two nights of our three-night stay. That turned out to be a wise move because our first-assigned unit was quite far from the public spaces, and reaching it requires walking on an uneven sandy path.

Activities at LK center around the mighty dunes of the Namib Desert, and we did splurge for a breathtaking hot air balloon ride to enjoy unique aerial vistas. The civic-minded owner of the balloon company operates a tuition-free school for children of his employees and nearby residents. We absolutely loved our time at the school, and contributions (both monetary and supplies) are most welcomed.

Our other LK activities were a morning drive through the dune corridor to visit Big Daddy, et al., a short walk through Sesriem Canyon, and an ATV ride around the LK "neighbourhood" . . . all thoroughly enjoyable!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

"Glam in the Middle of Nowhere"

3 nights Arrived 1 Jul 2016
"The Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is the newest property (opened in 2014) of the three in which we stayed per our itinerary and, save for its lack of internet and mobile access, it is modern in every respect. Our suite had lots of power points and a well-designed bathroom with double sinks. We're not totally sold on the architect's decision to locate the suite's lovely sitting lounge and minibar outside its sleeping space: their external locations effectively meant that we were unable to enjoy the lounge after night fall (a lion attacked a baby giraffe amongst the camp's suites a few days before our stay), and grabbing a nightcap from the minibar required leaving our suite's cozy confines.

We luckily were assigned a suite closest to the camp's public spaces and, if mobility is an issue, we suggest making that specific location request. Walking to the farthermost suites could easily take close to ten minutes.

HSCC's signature activity is the day-long excursion to the Skeleton Coast, and we loved every moment of that adventure . . . the unbelievably bumpy ride to the Coast amidst eye-popping varied terrain; our vehicle's dune descent; the spectre and smells of the Coast's wildlife; and our short but visually-stunning return flight to the camp. Other activities we enjoyed at HSCC included traditional game drives (two lionesses with three cubs; cheetah with two cubs; two elephant families; giraffes; springboks; oryxes; and ostriches), and watching the "Lion Man" video (a must!!!) with fresh popcorn.

Like the other Wilderness camps we visited, the food and service at Hoanib were outstanding in every way. Its cookies and other baked goods are divine!!!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Serra Cafema

Serra Cafema

"Remote! Remote! Remote!"

3 nights Arrived 4 Jul 2016
"Though Serra Cafema is the oldest of the three Wilderness properties we visited, we liked the interior layout and design of its suites the best. Our suite's lounging areas (both interior and exterior) were spacious and comfortable and were smartly separating from the sleeping, dressing and bathing spaces. We understand, however, that Serra Cafema will undergo major renovations and perhaps relocation in a few months, so we will not dwell on its current features.

Activities-wise, we loved every moment of our Himba Village visit (our outstanding guide Timo is from a nearby Himba community and offered us unique personal insights); river cruise; and ATV adventures. Michael and Elroy were outstanding hosts. As well, deWald (who heads Wilderness Safari's Food and Beverage operations in Namibia) was on assignment at Serra Cafema, and we had the pleasure of learning first-hand the immense challenges of provisioning and preparing healthy, varied, and delicious meals in some of the world's most remote locations."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
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Johannesburg

"Ten Short Hours at JNB"

1 night Arrived 7 Jul 2016
"Three words describe our brief, one-night stay at the InterContinental JNB: nothing went wrong!!!

Our flights from Windhoek to JNB, and our flight from JNB to Kigali were on-time, and we thoroughly enjoyed the nice looonng showers at our hotel (especially after taking comparatively brief showers at solar-heated safari camps the previous nine nights)!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Virunga Lodge

Virunga Lodge

"Hilltop Sanctuary"

3 nights Arrived 8 Jul 2016
"Our Expert Africa consultant advised that there are two high end lodges for luxury-minded gorilla trekkers: Sabyinyo and Virunga. We opted for the latter because we understand that staying at Sabyinyo required an arduous uphill walk from the carpark to the lodge.

However, Virunga is located at the top of a hill about an hour's drive to the Volcanoes Park headquarters, whilst Sabyinyo is just 20 minutes away. The longer drive did not bother us because it enabled us to have more time enjoying the lovely mountainous scenery and teeming village life en route. Do note that the last ten minutes of the drive to Virunga are bone-jarring!

Our banda at Virunga was spacious and, though it lacked internet access (which is available only in the lodge's very comfortable main lounge), it afforded all modern amenities. A recent renovation has upgraded the lodge's electrical system, and now powerpoints for charging batteries are now available ensuite.

Service by lodge personnel was accommodating and gracious, and the boot cleaning service it offered was world-class. (Our mud-caked boots post-trek were cleaned so thoroughly that they looked brand new when they were delivered to our banda!)

We were a bit disappointed with the meals . . . breakfasts were fine, but the mains offered at lunch and dinner were ordinary and not well-seasoned. Virunga does have an excellent baking staff because all the cakes and cookies offered at tea time were scrumptious."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Average
Facilities
Excellent

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