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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Western from Alberta

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

3

Excursions taken

0

My Sep 2021 trip during COVID

Zambia between 18 Sep 2021 and 4 Oct 2021

Trip rating: Excellent
"It took lots of planning and attention to details to pull this trip off in the later stages of the pandemic, assessing and managing potential risks, but I am so glad that I did so.

It was a fantastic trip originally planned for 2020, and ended up being a rare experience given the relatively small number of fellow travelers. This resulted in much more personal time and interaction with guides and camp staff, and with the small number of fellow travelers that one did encounter.

There were some offsets - fewer guests and vehicles about meant there were fewer "spotters" to share sightings, and so locating wildlife could be more challenging at times. With fewer guests, and guests dining in their own small bubbles; there was no communal dining and camaraderie with fellow travelers from around the world, which is a more common pleasure of the safari experience.

Expert Africa / Claire Scott did a great job throughout, with excellent information. attention to detail, and enormous patience. They have a great reputation in-country on the ground, based upon the feedback I got from both camps and operators, some of whom are competitors.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

Keep up the good work!

Your web site has always been good, but you have made great improvements over the past couple of years and now it is excellent."

Arranged By Claire Scott


Pioneer Camp

Pioneer Camp

"Pioneer Camp review"

1 night Arrived 19 Sep 2021
"This is a small, informal, relaxed place to stay in a quiet rural area just outside of the city, and yet still close (30 min drive, the last part along a very bumpy road) to the airport. There are several chalets, as well as space for self-drive campers.

There is a nice main building area with reception, bar, and patio dining. There is wifi in the main building area. I stayed here overnight on my international arrival in country, and then the next day back to the airport and on to Mfuwe and SLNP.

Tip - enroute to Pioneer you pass by the Waterfall Mall, which is handy for currency exchange office, and for SIM card purchase at the MTN shop, if things are closed at the airport, as they were for me during the transition from old terminal to new terminal in fall 2021.

Pickup on arrival was waiting and efficient, as was the return trip to the airport the next day. Staff were friendly and helpful. My stay was Sept 2021 during COVID, and things were pretty quiet. I was the only guest in the chalets, and there was an interesting German couple doing a self-drive in the camp area.

It's a total contrast to popular modern and upscale Latitude 15 Degrees, which is looks to be a great as well, but they are very different place to stay, and also at different price points. My rating factors that in. Latitude 15 is likely better located if you are trying to coordinate PCR testing for departure."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kaingo Camp

Kaingo Camp

"Kaingo Camp review"

3 nights Arrived 20 Sep 2021
"I had high expectations of Shenton Safaris and their camps based upon pre-trip research, and they really delivered! I stayed at 4 camps in SLNP, and 1 in LZNP over 13 days, and Kaingo was overall tops, given my focus on wildlife / photography, and extensive prior safari expertise.

I stayed here 3 days followed by 2 days at sister camp Mwamba, which seemed like an excellent combination. I would recommend staying at both, with 5 days total a minimum. An additional day or two at each would have been welcome as well.

Kaingo is a beautiful camp along the river bank, high end, but without being over the top. Guiding was excellent, which make this and sister camp Mwamba about 10 km away an excellent choice and combination for seasoned safari travellers, and wildlife / photography enthusiasts. Derek was in camp during my stay and we had a nice chat.

Kaingo has an in-river floating hide overlooking a carmine bee-eater nesting area in the river bank, very active in September/October nesting period. The hippos were further out in the river with water levels being higher this year, and therefore we didn't use the Hippo Hide. We also didn't access the Wild Dog Lagoon hide, which may have been dry this late in the season.

There is also a raised platform Elephant Hide nearby where you can pre-book to sleep overnight at extra expense, and I've heard good things about it. If you are looking for that sort of experience, this is likely preferable for various reasons to the overnight platform at Mwamba Camp.

Vehicles were open, full width bench seats to move back and forth, lots of adjustable camera supports, dust cloths to cover camera gear while driving, etc. Shenton guides do a good job of sharing sightings and working together to the benefit of the guests.

Kaingo had amazing five star food thanks to chef Catherine and team. There is wifi, but only in the camp back office area, a short walk away, and which you may be allowed to access upon request during daylight hours for a quick upload/download. This seemed like an ideal solution in providing needed but brief connectivity, while also not distracting or intruding upon the wilderness experience.

I also stayed 5 days at Time & Tide camps (Mchenja and Nsolo) in this same North Mfuwe sector, and they were good for various reasons, but also different. The vehicles seating and enclosure were less suitable for photography, and other than a beanbag or two, were not similarly equipped for photographers. There were no hides, and the guiding while good, was not to the high Shenton standard. More suited to newer safari travellers."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Mwamba Bushcamp

Mwamba Bushcamp

"Mwamba Bushcamp review"

2 nights Arrived 23 Sep 2021
"After three days at Kaingo, I moved to sister camp Mwamba Bush for two days. Mwamba is more rustic than Kaingo (bucket shower etc), and away from the main river, but still a great location.

The two camps make a great combination - see my Kaingo review for comments on the high quality of guiding and wildlife/photography orientation of Shenton Safaris - comments apply equally to Mwamba. Meals were very good, no wifi at this camp unlike Kaingo which has limited wifi access.

At the time of my stay, during COVID and fewer guests, vehicles and guides were shared between the two camps, and I had the same guide and private vehicle for the full 5 days.

Mwamba has a great hide, "The Last Waterhole" right adjacent to the camp, and you can walk over to it anytime. There is a steady procession of wildlife big and small visiting the waterhole throughout the course of the day, and the hide provides a great location for low angle photography. Also lots of opportunity for close photography of many bird species coming to the water.

There is also a raised platform a few km away available upon advance booking and additional charge for sleepout, which I visited during the day but did not overnight. While both platforms are no doubt amazing for a unique overnight, I would likely lean to the Kaingo experience rather than at Mwamba. But YMMV!

Kudos to Derek and Jules of Shenton Safaris - both camps are highly recommended, particularly for seasoned safari travellers and photographers."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

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