Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs C from Suffolk
Total number of trips
Lodges stayed in
Our trip to Tanzania/Zanzibar
Tanzania and 1 other country between 1 Mar 2019 and 18 Mar 2019
We are unlikely to return to Zanzibar and certainly not to Matemwe Lodge. If we had known how remote it was and how horrid the surroundings were we would not have gone there."
While we were delighted how much Mr & Mrs C enjoyed their safari, we passed on their comments about Beho Beho’s vehicles and the lodge assured us that steps were taken to address the vehicle seats and to check that winches were working properly. We were very disappointed that did not enjoy their stay on Zanzibar and we corresponded with them while they were there and talked to them at length after their return.
Arranged By Claire Scott
Serena Hotel Dar
"A night at Serena Hotel Dar"
Ikuka Safari Camp
"Exceptional Safari at Ikuka"
Mark and his team work really well together and there is a very happy atmosphere. We loved being welcomed on return from game drives by the team smiling and waving. The pool was wonderfully cool but does have a funny smell.
Some nights were chilly and we were glad of hot water bottles. The laundry were brilliant as all my husbands clothes were soaking wet as his suitcase had been left in the rain at Dar es Salaam airport. All meals were excellent, we had to ask for smaller portions as three huge course and cake for tea was too much for us!
Our room was good with stunning views, but we found being zipped in overnight as opposed to mosquito nets was a bore as whoever went to the loo in the night woke the other up!
Festo, our guide throughout, was excellent. We would stay at Ikuka again to be with Festo. He has great knowledge and experience and is also a brilliant mimic, birds, animals and Italian guests! Wonderful Great eagle owls and pale spotted owls very special. We are considering returning to Ikuka next February."
"Great Safari at Beho Beho"
Unfortunately there seems to be an atmosphere amongst the guides and Vanessa (F and B manager) which made for stilted conversation at the communal meals, which made us feel uncomfortable. The opposite to Ikuka where all was jolly.
The grasses at Beho Beho were short and we saw more game but fewer birds.We had wonderful daily sightings of African Wild Dog, packs of 23 which was tremendous.We saw a clan of eight Hyena, 34 giraffe together and herds of buffalo, wildebeest, eland, zebra and some elephant. Had three sightings of lion and also two cubs and a leopard and quantities of hippo.
We also got severely stuck our first morning. The guide, Sanningo, called for the cavalry on his radio, who arrived after 20 minutes and got stuck too! My husband quickly realised the winch was not operational. After a great deal of jacking up and stones laid strategically, an hour later we were at last freed, clouds of black smoke and a hippo lumbering by where I had just had a pee.
The heat was intense but the new plunge pools are a great asset. It would be nice to have umbrellas to give shade there.
For all the very smart, comfortable and beautiful camp and game, the tricky atmosphere may put us off returning."
We were shown around by Marco and our chalet which was No 7 situated quite a distance from the main dining area and pool. The door was fastened by a massive padlock which needed to be unlocked every time we entered. We were aware of tall security cameras although Ross insisted there was no problem.Two fans battled to keep pace with the heat. Thank heavens for the sea breeze or I would have expired.
We both felt very marooned at the end of that track and would have returned home early but for the extra cost, as detailed in our email to yourselves dated 13 March. There was great disappointment when we discovered that even at high tide the sea was really not deep enough for swimming. The sea and the shoreline was not clean. The further away from the Lodge the dirtier the beach became and the more we were hassled by persistent locals trying to sell us things. Not enjoyable. We saw small boys doing poos on the shoreline...
The trips on offer were expensive. $200 to visit Stone Town which had very little of interest or beauty to look at and was unbearably hot. The Lodge driver took us and lost us for an irritating 10 minutes. We do believe that Ross and Gina are doing great work in the community and wish them well but we would certainly never return. It was a disappointing end to our otherwise great trip. The food though was very good and the kitchen and dining staff very nice."
Matemwe is located in the far north-east corner of Zanzibar and the final section of the one-hour journey was at the time of their visit via small bumpy track that goes through Matemwe village. Local conditions on the island, which is certainly a poor part of the world, can come as a shock to visitors, particularly at the end of the dry season, and we are very sorry these travellers were not prepared for that. A new road being built will make access to the lodge much more comfortable.
The rooms are designed in the traditional Zanzibar style with large wooden doors and big brass padlocks. There are also security cameras around the property, however these are a precautionary measure rather than a necessity.
On Zanzibar the tide goes out a long way and on most beaches it is not possible to swim in the lagoon between the shore and the reef except at high tide. Matemwe Lodge has two swimming pools, so it is possible to cool off at any time of the day. All Zanzibar’s beaches have public access and Matemwe Lodge tries very hard to keep their beach spotlessly clean through patrols and daily rubbish collection. The lodge explained that much of the debris on the beaches is swept in seasonally from South East Asia, and was worse than usual when these guests stayed. The lodge has built public toilets in the village and we honestly believe the behaviour of the small boys was unusual.
At the time of Mr & Mrs C’s visit, it was very hot and humid on Zanzibar. The rooms at Matemwe Lodge have fans but not air-conditioning, as the sea breeze usually helps. However additional fans are available on request.
Having said all this we were very pleased that these travellers enjoyed the service and food at the lodge, but sadly it seems that the location of Matemwe did not suit them.
3 weeks in Namibia
Namibia between 5 Feb 2016 and 25 Feb 2016
Amazing holiday, we will be back.
Holiday exceeded our expectations in almost every aspect. Stunning varied country. Charming people. Self driving much easier than expected regardless of the 3000km covered. Felt safe and secure at all times, Friendly well stocked garages. The exchange with GDP made this an extremely reasonable holiday.
Highlights.Nice Restaurant, Windhoek. Wolwedans Lodge. Anchors Restaurant, Walvis Bay. Doro Nawas. 3hr old baby elephant.
Lion kill, Hobatere. For comfort we recommend, Ongava, Musharraf & Okonjima Lodges. Grootberg was a disappointment and Oyster Box let down by it's staff."
"Haus Sonneneck review"
Basic rooms, hard bed. Meagre breakfast. Kind woman who booked our dinner for us. Good secure parking."
Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch
"Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch review"
Delicious lunch, Salad with avocado. Nature drive with good knowledgable guide George, great fun and very interesting. We were distressed to see their three captive 12 year old Cheetahs, one in small enclosure.
Dinner was good as was breakfast."
Wolwedans Desert Lodge
"Wolwedans Dunes Lodge review"
Room 7 has an amazing position as do the rest. Went for Sundowner with guide Bravo, we drank whilst he changed a tyre!! Good 5 course dinner seated with other guests. Breakfast good.
All day game drive with Bravo (120km) not much to see for first hour but numbers of Oryx, Springbok, Giraffe & Ostrich grew from then on. Wonderful views across the plain. Picnic lunch and back by 5.00pm. Pool lovely and cool. Laundry well ironed but had to pay N$95? Very good dinner and breakfast.
Great place to stay in stunning location. Photographers dream."
Hoodia Desert Lodge
"Hoodia Desert Lodge review"
Good welcome from Andreas, showed us No 5 chalet, well built and very clean. Best pillows and comfy bed. Retired to room, gasping, air-con unable to keep-up. Pool small but cool. Wifi quick & good. Very good dinner.
Early start for Sossusvlei activity with guide. Needed sweater as cold in the morning mist. Highly intelligent & interesting guide Michael, bypassed Dune 45. Saw Jackal and Spotted Eagle Owl baby. Dunes a photographers dream. Spectacular when there early.
Picnic lunch wonderfully organised by Michael, all the china, glass, etc. Home by 2.30pm. Sweltering heat 40+C. Dinner not as good.
Gave us ice before we left for our cool box, next morning."
Oyster Box Guesthouse
"Oyster Box Guesthouse review"
Raft Restaurant good location but poor service, average food, expensive. Reception (Alexia) made a complete muddle of our Dolphin Cruise, never informed us of departure time. so missed our breakfast. It was with Sunsail Catamarans an old dirty poorly maintained catamaran. Life jackets only supplied to children. Beware snappy seals on board.
Much better dinner at Anchors, delicious inexpensive food with charming waitress."
"Doro Nawas review"
Welcomed by Bennie with cold towels and drinks followed by 3rd degree health & safety from Agnes. Good salad for lunch. Shown to huge beautiful, gloriously cool room.
We dashed to Twyfelfontein to see Bushman engravings, well worth a visit. Cost us N$160 (Lodge charge N$1000+). Good dinner.
Early start, lovely breakfast as sun rose. Collected by guide Gift in very ancient, noisy, enclosed Land Rover. Needs renewing considering the price of Lodge & Game Drive. Wonderful exhilarating morning with herd of Desert Elephants. Returned to most delicious beef salad.
A great place, would have liked two nights rather than one."
"Grootberg Lodge review"
The lodge is a disappointment compared with Doro Nawas, very small chalet down very uneven stone/boulder path. Steps to room, narrow wooden and unstable. Lumpy duvet, tiny shower, difficult to regulate the boiling hot water very dim lighting. Dinner was horrid, chicken curry with bovril mayo followed by greasy lamb. Breakfast, good home-made muesli. Eggs very overcooked.
All the staff were very sweet, smiley and kind. Drives expensive and we heard not fruitful. Disgusting dinner with pork schnitzel covered in pineapple sauce followed by a grape and ginger sponge.
Beware the stairs from veranda to pool area, uneven, narrow and shaky!"
"Hobatere Lodge review"
Bad design. PM game drive with guide Albert (good value), huge Mercedes Unimog. Saw hundreds of Zebra, recently killed Zebra with three lionesses. Great game drive. Poor dinner, peanut sauce over stuffed chicken breast. Bed hard.
Early morning game drive with Albert, very good guide. Bat eared Foxes, Jackal, Giraffe, Kudu, Eland & Ostrich. A good dinner.
In the morning great excitement as two lionesses come through the camp. leave for Etosha National Park."
"Ongava Lodge review"
Very hot and lots of steps to the main areas, very smart. lots of others staying. Our chalet, No 1, excellent position to view their waterhole, where there is always something going on. PM Game drive with guide Pascalis,. drove a long way through dense vegetation seeing very little. Expensive with not much to see. The Etosha Game Drive very expensive N$1200 each.
Lovely room extremely comfortable near pool & Lodge. Good night viewing of Rhino at dinner, escorted by armed staff back to room due to 16 Lions in camp night before.
Watched waterhole all next day, saw lots of game Black & White Rhino, spotted Hyena."
"Mushara Lodge review"
Our bungalow, close and comfortable. Tree squirrels amusing.
Very comfortable bed, best sheets so far; large room with good shower. The menu looked better than it tasted. Booked game drive N$500 with female guide Emelda. Early start, good breakfast. Picked up at 6.30, quite cool in the Land Rover. Great drive eventually seeing Cheetah. Back by 12.00 noon. relaxed afternoon with good dinner. All round a great day."
Okonjima Bush Camp
"Okonjima Bush Camp review"
Charming guide Gideon took us on evening game drive. Saw Leopards before it rained. Good dinner for me as Sarah has upset stomach. the Lodge supplied her with Kaolin which helps settle her. Quiet day until evening game drive, seeing Wild Dogs, very interesting.
Lodge gave Sarah soup two nights running as she was still unwell.
More rain, visit the Africat Centre, worth a visit. Night hide visit after dinner, saw spotted Genet and Brown Hyena. Great."
We were unable to finish our breakfast as the driver arrived very early at 6.15, too early, to collect us for our 8.30 flight.The flight was delayed by an hour which was unfortunate."