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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Ms Wood-hoopoe from UK

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

4

Excursions taken

0

My Oct 2007 trip

Tanzania between 27 Oct 2007 and 11 Nov 2007

Trip rating: Excellent
"Expert Africa, and Claire Scott, made a brilliant job putting this trip together. I felt I briefly said what i was looking for, and I instantly got a very helping and knowledgable hand working for me.

Excellent advice on which game parks to visit (to avoid crowds and to see a lot of animals) both have been greatly met! We saw 10 times more than I had dreamt of! And there were rarely any other vehicles around, maybe one or two during the whole drive).

We moved between four different places, but everything went smoothly.

The only real downer is the food issue, but I am confident that Expert Africa, and Claire, did request this accordingly. I think it was big BA that lost the order, not you (having sorted every little step out in nowhere working perfectly well, I simply can't see you being the cause of the BA lapsus)."

Feedback response

We’re delighted that the trip was generally such a great success. Many of our travellers want to avoid the crowds whilst seeing great game – and we pride ourselves on knowing some of the best out-of-the-way spots that can help achieve this.

However, we’re also very aware that this traveller – who runs a restaurant in the UK – did feel let down on some occasions by the food. This was especially an issue on the flights. We always try our best to advise the airlines, and all the lodges, of any special food requirements. However, we’d always advise travellers in economy class to take their own food if they have very specific likes, dislikes or requirements. Standard airline food really is often quite basic – regardless of the airline!

We’ve also given the lodges very clear feedback on these food issues, and we’re sure that the camps in question have learned from it – and will improve their offerings for people with specific food requirements as the result of it.

Arranged By Claire Scott


Selous Impala Camp

Selous Impala Camp

"Selous Impala Camp review"

3 nights Arrived 28 Oct 2007
"We felt very welcome, met with helpfulness and warmth. The management (2 women) were excellent and always forthcoming. We had a lovely young guy as "our" game drive guide, and the driver was very knowledgable about all the roads and "corners" of the park. We saw loads of gam, already the first day! The boat guide was a lot more quiet and impersonal but nevertheless took us to the the game in and along the river.

The room was great, comfortable beds, a good bathroom. The masai escort worked very well (they were also very warm and friendly).
The location was a little less though, than I had expected. Although at a river bank etc, it wasn't very beautiful – in an odd sort of way the architecture were nicer than the nature...

The food was a little of a mixed bag. They did cater for my special needs, which is highly appreciated (when the others got meat, I got fish or a specially prepared vegetarian main). The standard of the food however, varied quite a lot. We had some gorgeous dishes ("blue fish in orange butter", a mango salad, some good side veg (remember roasted pumpin). Then some dishes dropped down to very low quality and taste (as the Nile fish, the "tuna lasagne" (!) and a couscous salad, etc). Overall it was probably half-half when it came to food quality."
Good
Location
Average
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Average
Facilities
Good
Ruaha River Lodge

Ruaha River Lodge

"Ruaha River Lodge review"

4 nights Arrived 31 Oct 2007
"OK, this camp stay started out very well. I was gobsmacked just arriving to that location! First time I've sensed a location description being understated in a tour companies marketing! It is amazingly situated, straight on to the river, and with a free 180 degree panorama view. The game is really coming down to drink just outside your banda or the large, open lounge.

The game drivers here were excellent. Not so charming maybe, as our guy in Selous, but these guys had years of experience (and were helpful and friendly). Two different ones found a leopard in a tree (we still don't know how he could spot it), while the other tracked down a lion by following its paw prints on a dirt road.

Although managment seemed very professional, they gave off an odd atmosphere, the guy being incredibly chatty, but without any warmth, the woman seeming increasingly bored and you could sense how she walked around the tables and said "how are you" out of shere necessity.

The big issue in Rhuaha though was the food. We both agreed it was mainly on par with school canteens, given the odd potato side dish a higher score. For me, it was also an issue with the "no meat" issue. Whereas Selous always had one meat and one fish option on their menu, Ruaha never had. It was always two meats and side vegetables. A few times there was a (tinned) tuna pasta salad (which was just tinned tuna, pasta and a handful of sweetcorns, nothing else). Only ones did I get a "specially" prepared vegetarian substitution – when my son had both minced meat and chicken, I got a boiled egg, halved and dotted with mustard... All other meals I was assumed to eat the rice/potato and the side vegetables/salads. Nothing else. For the last evening – when there was a Saturday bbq – I thought they would have got me a fish to be bbq-ed. To my great astonishment, there wasn't anything else than the rice and the bbq sauce for me to eat. At that point I lost patience with the food policy and raised the issue with the (male) manager. He seemed to take on my criticism and said he'd talk to "Peter" (the owner, I believe, who was present at the site).

I expressed I felt I had been left with the side vegetables although I had been paying full price. I would accept if they couldn't meet my nutritional need, but would expect a discount. I did expect this issue to be brought up the following morning, at our departure and paying of bills etc. But neither the manager, nor the owner was present, and the office clerk said nothing of the matter. I guess I would have thought that a gesture towards some of the drinks cost or something would have fine enough. But now I do feel I would like Expert Africa's help to have at least some compensation.

My feeling is, this could have been a marvellous place. With an improvement of the food and managment skills it would be!"
Average
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Poor
Facilities
Good
Chole Mjini Lodge

Chole Mjini Lodge

"Chole Mjini Lodge review"

3 nights Arrived 4 Nov 2007
"A fantastic place. Location is fascinating and beautifully used (the tropical garden among the ruins). The tree houses are lovely, beautifully designed and truly unusual! The owner couple are absolutely lovely. Warm, friendly, humorous. And the way in which they interact with the customers! I was a little worried beforehand when I read negative comments on Jean. Those comments turned out to be really ridiculous. He's a lovely guy! The food was gorgeous! Every single dish was great. Good ingredients, imaginative and still simple recipes. Service was helpful, friendly and descreet when needed (there were "guards" watching our house). The interaction and closeness to the village and the village people was quite special. We got an insight into African everyday life which felt like a very special experience.

The only thins that brings the visit down a little was the facilities. I am AWARE of this, and that a big part of Chole's appeal, is the nonexisting electricity and long drop loos, and I am not putting it against them. However, as weak Europeans, in some 35-40 degrees and with loads of Malaria mosquitos, it did wear on us – when the breeze got spare or died completely, and you basically melted 24 hours a day. The tree houses, with their (during daytime) lovely open appeal, became a "hide-with-in-the-mosquito-net" melting pot during night. The open-air showers were lovingly beautifully designed – but became a boiling pot with mosquito attacks. The long drop loos were non-smelly, but truly uncomfortable, and the huts they were in so hot it was like entering an oven.

Nevertheless, an absolutely lovely place I would warmly recommend to anyone!

A little issue, but I didn't want to raise it there and then. I ordered some "rum and cokes", and felt I was drinking single measures (the strength of the drink is really a big difference between singles and doubles). The staff tended to mix the drink before you got it, apart from once when I could actually see the amount of rum in the glass. Being very familiar with the drink, and also running a restaurant myself, I could tell I was only being served singles. However, I was always charged doubles. This may be a staff issue, a little money on the side, but I leave it to you to judge if you want to mention it to Anne and Jean. I think it is a bit bad, but it hasn't greatly affected my view on Chole Mjini."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Average
Kinasi Lodge

Kinasi Lodge

"Kinasi Lodge review"

4 nights Arrived 7 Nov 2007
"Anything after Chole is a hard act to follow. Kinasi lodge is neat, clean and has all the facilities. Yet, it came across as lacking atmosphere (which may have been partly down to the fact there were only four guests). The ever-present yellow-painted concrete pathways and steps felt perhaps a little harsh in the otherwise fine surroundings with tropical garden plants and a pretty little private beach. An over-designed place with too strong "holiday" ambitions.

Managment couple was very helpful and professionally friendly, but (after Anne and Jean) felt a tad impersonal. The staff was generally fine, apart from the two diving instructors (2 white males) who, in a Hollywood film, would be great as the "twin bored thugs" act, but at a holiday resort just made us back off from the idea we had of giving scuba diving a first.

The guy that will stay in our memory is the local Mafian guide, Kirubi I think his name was, who took us around the village "next door", knowing everyone, and shaking hands with everyone (including the kids), being loved by everyone, and giving us an amazing insight into the village life, and Mafia life on the whole. He had the charm and warm friendliness the place so desperately needed!

Faciclities were nice, apart from a shower in our room which was reduced to a trickle. We reported it to managment who instantly had a look at it, but couldn't fix it.

Food was generally competent – plus for alternatives for me!"
Average
Location
Good
Service
Good
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good

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