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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mrs D from Worcester Park

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

2

Countries visited

2

Lodges stayed in

9

Excursions taken

0

My First Long Stay In Kenya

Kenya between 20 Jun 2017 and 4 Jul 2017

Trip rating: Good
"As a whole my first long trip to Kenya was successful and everything took place as planned. The trip gave me a good insight about safaris and background knowledge of the natural world in Kenya, although my stay at Severin Safari Camp could have been better managed. I hope to revisit in the future and I certainly will want to return to Ol Pajete.

Being advised against visiting Lake Turkana was correct. Whilst in Kenya I spoke to people who had visited Turkana and they found the place unbearable because of the heat.

Lastly, thank you James for helping to sort out the trip at such short notice.

P.S. Apologies for the length of my Feedback but my memory got the better of me."

The Emakoko

The Emakoko

"The Emakoko Lodge Experience"

2 nights Arrived 20 Jun 2017
"We did not start off with a good beginning - the driver was sent to Nairobi National Airport to meet me off an Emirates flight when in fact I was at the hotel Lazizi Premiere waiting for him. I had arrived the previous night at 2.10am by Turkish Airlines! It took several unanswered phone calls before receiving an answer from the Lodge and the problem finally resolved. It was not the driver's fault. What did surprise me was that upon my arrival at the Emakoko Lodge there was no apology for what had happened.

The staff at Emakoko Lodge were very friendly and helpful and eager to chat to me. One person insisted on taking my blouse, shoes, hat and crutch to clean after I had been spattered with red mud by an elephant.

I liked the peace and tranquility of the area and the natural surroundings and I was very content to be staying at the Emakoko Lodge. I enjoyed the Game Drives and the driver managed to find two lionesses with a total of five playful cubs which was a bonus. The sight of over a hundred storks roosting in trees was a sight I would never have imagined.

Regarding my very nice accommodation, I would have liked to have had the window/s or verandah door open but because of the invasion by destructive monkeys it was inadvisable The chef was good and produced some interesting meals the recipes for which he is happy to share with guests. Each evening during dinner a 'pet' genet appears to eat her dish of food, one evening with her kitten.

My driver took me to visit the elephant orphanage which I thought was very good but my visit to the Giraffe Centre was disappointing: I did not want to be kissed or licked by the giraffes and in a roundabout way I felt they were being coaxed to be undignified with the bribes of food pellets, although I do understand the Centre is a way for schoolchildren to get to know about giraffes, and there were plenty of schoolchildren there eagerly awaiting to meet the giraffes 'face-to-face'.

As an aside, I was amused to find that at the Lodge the hyrax had a fondness for rose flower heads and when nobody was around left a bunch of headless stalks in the vases."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Image alt

Lazizi Premiere

"My first stop: the Lazizi Premiere"

1 night Arrived 20 Jun 2017
"After I had passed through the arrivals exit at the Nairobi International airport a female taxi driver stopped me and said she was there to pick me up. I asked her for the name of the person she was meeting but she just repeated her lines. I moved on down the steps and saw my Lazizi Premiere representative who was friendly and efficient. The staff at Lazizi Premiere were very helpful, especially as I had arrived in the middle of the night. I enjoyed the buffet breakfast which suited me.

The Manager (or Perhaps the Head Porter) excelled himself by repeatedly 'phoning the Emakoko Lodge to find out what had happened to my driver from Emakoko Lodge. When he finally got a reply, we discovered that the driver had been sent to Nairobi national airport to meet me where I was supposed to be arriving on an Emirates flight. It was not the driver's fault. Without the help of the Lazizi's member of staff I could have been waiting for the Driver from the Lodge for a very long time."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Elephant Bedroom

Elephant Bedroom

"Elephant Bedroom without a river"

4 nights Arrived 26 Jun 2017
"I was allotted the luxurious spacious tent nearest to the main area which I found later on had its assets,
My dignified Game Drive Guide in his tribal dress was very good and besides seeing leopards, elephants and lions we also watched a pregnant lioness tracking a young zebra one morning and found her in the afternoon beside her half eaten kill that she had placed in a bush shelter. During the next two drives we saw her in the same place.

One morning we were watching a lazing leopard when a young bull elephant arrived and began feeding near the leopard; result: 2 of the Big 5 in one shot!

Unfortunately the river was dry and consequently the crocodiles had left and gone into hibernation. Also the ostriches had left the area and I did not get my one chance to see their blue legs. However on my second day the elephants began to arrive and from my verandah I watched a bull elephant place his tusks each side of the doum palm that was growing about four yards from my tent and vigorously shake the palm until he was showered with its fruits, My next visitor was a dwarf mongoose who stood on its back legs to peep at me over the edge of the verandah. The monkeys and baboons were, of course, the usual opportunists and a regular 'lookout' was mostly on duty to keep them away from the diner.

One morning towards the end of a Drive we suddenly found ourselves in a shady grove that had been set up as a diner with tables and chairs and all the kitchen equipment ready to cook whatever the guests required. This was a pleasant meal which I shall remember.

The next surprise was a Sundowner for ALL the guests with staff serving the food that was being kept hot until the Sun set.

Overall I enjoyed my experiences at Elephant Bedroom with its luxurious tent accommodation. Even the extremely strong winds filling everything with red dust was an experience.

During my third morning at the campsite I was relaxing on my verandah when I was suddenly disturbed by a Drone hovering about ten yards in front me - am I being unreasonable to believe that this was an intrusion/invasion of my privacy?"
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Ol Pejeta Bush Camp

Ol Pejeta Bush Camp

"Ol Pejeta Bush Camp: my favourite"

3 nights Arrived 30 Jun 2017
"Ol Pejeta campsite was enshrouded with a peace and quiet that I indulged myself in. My Guide and Driver were excellent and were obviously just as interested in what I had to tell them as I was in what they had to tell me and they were always eager to answer my questions. I could not have wished for a better Guide and Driver, in their company I felt as if I was out with Friends. All the staff were respectful, friendly and eager to help to ensure that I enjoyed my stay at the campsite and that I was comfortable and looked after. So much so that on my first night I found my bed not only had five blankets on it but also had two hot water bottles tucked away inside.

The night was accompanied with the noises of two local lionesses who prowled Ol Pejeta Campsite which was on their territory. There was also a resident Goliath Heron who paraded the opposite river bank to mine and even though he got to know about my camera and move away when he saw it I did get a shot of him standing in the sunshine with his wings spread wide open.

There were books in the lounge area, both fiction and non fiction, which I enjoyed browsing (this is what I missed in the other campsites) and in the same area there was a huge log fire to sit beside in the evenings.
The meals were mostly from a quality buffet which as an almost non-meat eater I prefer and 'seconds' were always available.

I enjoyed a visit to the rhino sanctuary and actually touched a rhino but, big question, could he feel my touch through that thick skin? We also visited the chimpanzees' sanctuary but, ashamedly, I did not find it so interesting.

During the afternoons the wind increased in strength and became very cold and from my first evening I was offered, and took, the seat next to the driver to make sure I was warm enough. That same evening there was a terrific downpour of rain which filled a lot of elephant wallowing holes ready for the next day. The rain also brought the elephants into the area.

The biggest prize in our game viewing was to see a bat-eared fox but amongst others I also saw rhinos, zebras, monkeys, giraffes and at last a betrothed couple of 'pink' legged ostriches.
On my second morning and for the first time I was able to see Mount Kenya without its usual shroud of cloud. I was honored!

At the end of my last game drive we saw the most spectacular sunset I have ever seen and there was no need for a drink, eats or a table to sit at. We viewed it from the vehicle and were able to drive along to different viewpoints. Artistically and visually it was superb but scientifically it was mind-boggling and something I shall always remember.

Ol Pejeta Bush Camp is the site I would want to visit again, It was everything that I could wish for. It was the place where I was most content and hope to visit again."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent

MY BOTSWANA: OVERVIEW

Botswana between 10 Jun 2016 and 25 Jun 2016

Trip rating: Excellent
"When I arrived in Johannesburg from Heathrow, London I was given assistance and found myself in a smallish room with television and noise blaring out and about 8 assistants doing nothing. Eventually I asked to be taken to the Gate for Kasane.

When I arrived in Johannesburg Airport from Maun it took nearly 2 hours to get through passport control and I had to re-enter, departures because baggage cannot go direct from Maun to Heathrow. A man who had an identity pass insisted that he gave me guidance ( which I said I did not want) because he knew where I should go.

He wanted $10 for the privilege,, which he did not get, and showed me to the wrong place anyway. After several attempts to get help a lady official opened a barrier and took me through in front of the queue and made sure I had assistance. The 'assistance' said if I wanted to give him "something" I was not to give it to him in front of anyone.(he did not get anything either!). ..Is there no other route to Botswana?

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

I was very satisfied with Lucy's assistance in arranging my visit to Botswana and will definitely consider Expert Africa's assistance if I need any help in the future.

Lucy partly remembered arranging my trip to Botswana six years ago and from that trip we planned this one. Through our Emails I found Lucy friendly, lucid and easy to communicate with and within a few days at short notice My Botswana itinerary was in place. Each stage of the plan went smoothly and there were no hold-ups or my being left stranded. Even at Maun airport I received unexpected assistance to make sure I was where I was expected to be.

My experience of a very enjoyable and well-planned trip leaves me without any suggestions for improving Expert Africa's service - except for, perhaps, including within this form a feature that prevents automatic deletion when accidentally pressing a wrong key or Back to previous page..........

VERY MANY THANKS, LUCY, FOR ARRANGING MY TRIP SO EFFICIENTLY, FROM, JEAN."

Arranged By Lucy Copson


Chobe Game Lodge

Chobe Game Lodge

"MY BOTSWANA: CHOBE GAME LODGE"

2 nights Arrived 11 Jun 2016
"Although it did not feel quite right to have female guides and trackers I have no complaint about their performance. It was only at Chobe that I saw a porcupine (running as if there was no tomorrow), two honey badgers and the riverside antics of a herd of elephants. It was also at Chobe where I watched a pair of hamerkops building their nest.

The Lodge was very suitably placed for game drives and river cruises, both of which I enjoyed. The land between the Lodge and the River Chobe was imaginatively used but I think the Lodge had missed the point of being a GAME Lodge and was veering towards being a modern up-market hotel that did not quite fit the title of GAME Lodge; although I noted that Families seemed pleased with the Lodge's services. Perhaps a minor detail but I did get fed up with every member of staff I passed asking me how I was, I found it intrusive.

I did wonder also about the roll of the Lodge's lady hosts: on my second evening the gentleman who had shared our table the previous evening asked my host to have dinner with himself and two other visitors (excluding myself) which my host did with apologies to me. During their dinner there was a lot of 'selfy' photos taken with close contact between the gentleman and the host and I cannot but question why, also are these 'displays' now acceptable to Botswana culture or are they just for European and American visitors.

The other questionable was why did the waiter decide to accompany me from the dining room as if I had asked him to - I was only able to get him to leave me when I stopped walking and firmly said 'Goodnight'.

At times whilst in the Lodge I felt uncomfortable with a lack of freedom and felt that the staff were ever watchful of me.- perhaps as a single female I stood out like a sore thumb.

It is debatable whether I would choose to stay at the Lodge again, perhaps I would find the tented camps more suitable."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Average
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Facilities
Average
Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp

Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp

"MY BOTSWANA: NXABEGA OKAVANGO TENTED CAMP"

3 nights Arrived 13 Jun 2016
"Although it was my fourth visit to Nxabega I was not disappointed and found the staff, guide and tracker friendly and helpful. I especially enjoyed having my own butler who attended my dining needs and remembered my likes and dislikes and what I liked to drink.

However there were changes, both environmental and campwise, since my last visit: giraffes and elephants had as far as I knew disappeared from the area but a cheetah had arrived and produced a litter of cubs which she was busy rearing in the territory she had established. Apparently the cheetah was found on farmland and rather than shoot her the farmer gave her to Nxabega.

A dozen fruit bats had taken over the ceiling of the Camp's entrance and a large family of baboons had established themselves around the camp. The baboons were destructive to the point that the camp hired a member of staff as a 'baboon scarer' to try and reduce the baboons' activities - although not always successful. My first sight of them was of a large male baboon prancing around on a roof with an orange cushion that had been taken from an unoccupied hut which the baboons had ransacked.

They had also gained entrance to the shop and I saw the assistant bent over a grill into which she was poking a stick with sticky gum on the end to try and retrieve what the baboons had put into the grill. It may be old news but the best story about the baboons was when they managed to obtain entrance to a Medical Doctor's tent where he had left his assortment of pills and medicines. The baboons ransacked the tent and everything the doctor and his wife had with them. They emptied pills, even those in childproof containers, and liquid medicines along with make-up everywhere and proceeded to smear it on the walls and furnishing. Apparently afterwards it was impossible to tell whether or not some baboons were "high" on drugs, whether the sleeping ones were unconscious through medication or whether eating the cosmetics had influenced their behavior.

The guide and tracker worked hard to give us as much good viewing as possible; in some cases going to extremes to make sure we did not miss something, e.g. a lion eating a buffalo.

The mokoro trips had changed and were no longer poled to where one could go ashore (as in the past for coffee) and the water plants seem more abundant.

The decor of the accommodation has been altered but I preferred the old layout; the new area between the washing and sleeping areas seemed irrelevant and, strangely, intrusive and was something I did not want to be bothered with."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Average
Food
Good
Sandibe Safari Lodge

Sandibe Safari Lodge

"MY BOTSWANA: SANDIBE SAFARI LODGE"

3 nights Arrived 16 Jun 2016
"This is my fourth visit to Sandibe Lodge and I had to pretend I was visiting a new camp for the first time. The new Sandibe, whilst understanding the theme and reasons for the new camp, did not jell with me in the way the old style had and I missed it. I found that the wooden floor created noise whenever someone walked across it and it spoilt the peacefulness. The dining area was very pleasant and on two occasions a young bull elephant joined us at teatime and stayed a long time before moving away.

The guide, tracker, butler and staff were helpful and friendly and made it their job to make sure everything went smoothly. As at Nxabega, I enjoyed having my personal butler who ensured I was given the food and drink that I liked and the guide and tracker made sure the drives were interesting - the hot water bottles first thing in the morning were more than welcome. On the second evening we dined out in the open around campfires with the area lit with lamps and candles; this seems to have become a Sandibe tradition.

My accommodation was more than adequate with features that I did not find of interest, e.g. the plunge pool. However the duvet was much too thick for me and there were no blankets but upon request two small blankets were placed side by side on my bed to cover it to try and make up for the omission.

Because of the increasing thick growth of water plants that the Government refused permission to thin out, mokoro poling is no longer an activity at Sandibe.

Regarding encounters with wild life: whilst lunching a vivet monkey jumped on to my table and grabbed a handful of mashed avocado before rapidly scurrying away, a hippo took a dislike to our vehicle and began to charge us and, as already mentioned on two occasions an elephant had tea with us. On our second morning drive we watched a female leopard purposely walking without being distracted and we were told she was very hungry. Towards the end of the evening drive we saw the same leopard again, purposely walking along the road without any hint of stopping but looking very tired. We were told she had been walking all day without finding food. We drove alongside her and eventually left her as she continued plodding along.

To summarise the new Sandibe: I think American Visitors would be attracted to it but to me it felt too pristine and, forgive me, modern."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Camp Kalahari

Camp Kalahari

"MY BOTSWANA: CAMP KALAHARI"

2 nights Arrived 19 Jun 2016
"Camp Kalahari reminded me of Hemingway's Botswana and I was very pleased that I decided to stay there. The food was to my liking and the staff were friendly and helpful.

The herds of zebra and wildebeste outnumbered all other animals but on our evening drive in the moonlight we saw spring hares, cape hares, black backed jackals, an owl, an aardvark and a steenbok which everyone found very satisfying. On one daytime drive we saw a couple of ostriches in the distance but this was the only time I saw them during the whole time I was in Botswana. During the night there was a huge outcry as a lion tried to get into the horses' enclosure....who can blame him for thinking it would be a quick and easy meal.

The early morning visit to the meerkat burrows was charming and I believe I am right in saying everyone enjoyed it. We arrived as they began emerging from their burrows and when one sat on my knee I decided it smelt of marmite! A staff member has been appointed to stay around the meerkats' territory all day and every day so that they are used to 'us humans' and do not consider us a threat.

I did not join the Bush Walk but was surprised at the number of Bush people that arrived for the walk which included men, women, children and babies. I also did not participate in the quad bike drive because I had no time left, however afterwards I wished that I had."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Deception Valley Lodge

Deception Valley Lodge

"MY BOTSWANA: DECEPTION VALLEY LODGE"

3 nights Arrived 21 Jun 2016
"Deception Valley Lodge was my ultimate goal and I was in no way disappointed. In fact, being the only visitor at the Lodge, I was thoroughly spoilt and wish that this situation could have lasted longer.

The Valley's vegetation had grown high and it was not always easy to spot the animals therefore a lot of tracking through the vegetation took place. There was an alpha male lion in the area that had fought for his trerritory and had all the wounds to prove it. He was tracked and finally found only about 15 yards away from us. He was dozing under a bush but seemingly his dignity was still in place and his wounds were healing although he was lucky not to have lost his right eye. Every now and then he opened his eyes and lazily looked at us - obviously he was well fed!

Another piece of tracking took place on my last morning at Deception but my time was limited and, annoyingly, I missed the final outcome. An unknown adolescent bull elephant was roaming the area but had not been seen and, seemingly, because there had been no prints at the watering places, he had not been drinking until this particular morning when he left his prints behind. From then he was tracked to an area of tall vegetation but in spite of finding all the tracks, even wet saliva on a branch, he could not be found. HIs tracks were haphazard and were all within a small area that was not far from the road. I felt cheated that I could not stay for the outcome.

The two porcupines that used to consider the Lodge as their territory unfortunately became a lion's feast and it was decided not to encourage any more porcupines to reside at the Lodge. One morning it was found that a lioness with cubs had made a nocturnal visit to the Lodge and had somehow got into an outside cupboard that housed domestic cleaning utensils: one cub had a bucket on its head.

Deception Valley Lodge was the highlight of my visit to Botswana. The Family had made me feel part of the Lodge. Everyone came to say 'Goodbye' when I left and I felt very sad."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent

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