Travel reviews by Miss G. from Newark
Total number of trips
Lodges stayed in
My Dec 2021 trip
Kenya between 21 Dec 2021 and 2 Jan 2022
Richard was very helpful, as always, especially in these trying times when the holiday had to be cancelled once and then when one of our party got covid pre departure and had to miss half the trip. He was always on hand to help, even over the Christmas period."
Four Points Nairobi Airport
"Four Points by Sheraton review"
"Kicheche Laikipia review"
The camp itself has a great view over the dam and the wildlife that visit are forever changing. We extremely enjoyed our lunch sitting out watching the elephants and giraffe, among others, go by.
The fires in the main tent are lovely to come back to after your afternoon drive, especially in the rain! The tents are great, with a nice seating area & hammock to enjoy the view. The hot water bottles at night were very much appreciated as it was quite cold and rainy.
The food was the best of the trip, a real effort was made to accommodate my vegetarian diet in different and interesting ways. We loved everything we were given and even asked for some of the recipes when we left.
Without a doubt Simon our guide was fantastic. Very knowledgeable and extremely friendly and easy to get on with. We really enjoyed our game drives with him. He is a great ambassador for the Kicheche brand. It is very evident that he has a passion for his job, his country and the animals. He takes great pride in what he is doing and went above and beyond to make our experience one to remember.
Ol Pejeta is a great conservancy, we loved to see so many Rhino. We enjoyed our visit to the chimp sanctuary, which Simon recommended we incorporate into a game drive.
The visit to the Northern White Rhinos was insane. It was probably the highlight of the trip for me. I didn't know what to expect but I didn't think we would be the only people there and that we would get to drive into the enclosure in our jeep. We had the sole attention of Najin & Fatu. It was a spectacular experience to hand feed and touch them. Najin put her whole head, giant horn included, into the jeep for another carrot. She then decided to use the bumper as a horn sharpener to Simons dismay!
I would without hesitation recommend KL and hope to return one day soon and we want to say a big thanks to Simon, Louise and the rest of the team for giving us a great stay."
"Saruni Samburu review"
The hotel is jaw dropping amazing. The view is spectacular and the rooms are unlike anything we have experienced before. The feeling of the inside being outside is great and we thoroughly enjoyed the outside showers. The room's patio was a great place to sit and enjoy the scenery that stretched for miles.
The rooms were extremely clean, comfortable and luxurious. The communal area was great. The staff were very nice and friendly. Martin who was our waiter for the stay was excellent. He was so friendly and happy to chat about himself and his community. He couldn't do enough for us and was always available, to the extent that he gave us his phone number in case we wanted to text him from the room for anything. We couldn't have been better looked after by him.
The entertainment in the camp was excellent, on Christmas Saruni arranged local village teenagers to put on a dance show and one of the evenings we had a very enjoyable bush dinner.
The downside to Saruni for us was the game drives and the limited amount of time actually in the reserve. The focus here isn't on the drives and you are actively encourages to spend more time in camp. It's a long drive back and forward to the reserve and we found with the drought that there wasn't much to see in the conservancy on the way to and fro.
In comparison we spent 30hrs over 3 days on drives in another camp but only 7 hrs over 3 days in Saruni!
When some of our party booked a special excursion it was assumed the rest of the party would stay in camp and when that wasn't the case it was very difficult for them to accommodate a drive and resulted in only 5 hrs total game drive for the day (3 if you take off the drive to and fro).
When you do get to the reserve the elephants are unreal and its a great experience to spend time sitting amongst them as they go about their day.
In our opinion Saruni is great if you want a little bit of drives and a lot of relaxation and comfort but it isn't the place to be if your main focus is game drives."
Ol Olokwe Excursion
"Ol Olokwe Excursion review"
27 Dec 2021 • Morning excursion
It looks very imposing from the ground and it was quite challenging to climb. You definitely have to have a good level of fitness, especially to reach the summit. The fit 30 year old got to the top easily but the 60 year old got 2/3 of the way up. Our warrior guide Kampala was fantastic, he was very encouraging to the 60 year old to get her up the hill.
He was very fit, knowledgeable and friendly. He told us lots of interesting stories about his life! We had a nice breakfast before the summit. It took around 6 hours in total to get up and down the mountain.
"Kicheche Valley review"
Its very exciting that the camp is totally unfenced and one night a giraffe was killed by a pride of lion within sight of our tent.
The room was very spacious, clean and comfortable.
The food was good and plentiful and it was nice to eat looking out over the valley. The portable fires were a nice touch.
As we have come to expect at a Kicheche camp the drives were top notch and the guide was excellent. Bernard was extremely knowledgeable, easy to spend time with and was very considerate and tried really hard to make sure we saw the animals we wanted. He was very reassuring when the animals got close and was conscious to make sure everyone felt safe and comfortable. Its nice that he was from the local area and was happy to share his life experiences. Bernard is a great photographer and gave us some good tips.
The night drive was excellent with a lovely clear sky and very bright stars. Within the space of half an hr we saw lions eating a kill, bush babies and an AARDVARK! It has been wishfully put on our 'to see list' but we didn't really expect it to happen (neither did Bernard). It was a great experience and we got to spend quite a bit of time following him as he went about his evening forage.
The bush walk was surreal when you consider what animals could be lurking nearby. We felt very safe with Bernard and the ranger and thoroughly enjoyed seeing things that might be missed from a jeep.
The trip to the local village was a very interesting experience and it was very nice to be able to buy a few of the handmade gifts. Mark who showed us around his village was very friendly and let us have a go to try to make fire. It was a lot harder than it looks. There was no hard selling and all the price negotiation was done through Mark.
We would 1000% return to KV."
"The Emakoko review"
The rooms are very impressive with a nice decking area, a large bathroom and seating area with fireplace. Although the rooms are of very high standard they are a little tired in some areas and could do with some upgrading ie there was a massive hole in the mosquito net over our bed.
The communal areas are very comfortable and an enjoyable place to relax.
The food was okay. It sometimes felt like it was trying too hard to be fine dining and a lot of it was not to our taste. Personally we would have preferred if they did something more simple but to an excellent standard. The pizza they cooked in the oven around the pool was fantastic. Weirdly they don't do any diet drinks.
The massage we had was very good and the therapist was a very kind, chatty person."
My Aug 2018 trip
Kenya between 21 Aug 2018 and 6 Sep 2018
We were really happy with the places he recommend and with the final trip schedule. He gave us good advice about not paying extra to have a freight seat on the planes. We were a little over the max bag weight but we were not asked to pay anything.
We were grateful that he let everywhere know about Sarah's leg injury in advance as it meant all the camps were prepared for us.
We had an amazing holiday and would love to travel with Expert Africa to Kenya again."
Crowne Plaza Nairobi Airport
"Crowne Plaza Nairobi Airport review"
Rooms/ bathrooms were nicely decorated and clean.
Staff were all very friendly and helpful.
Breakfast buffet was very good with lots to chose from.
Large dinner/room service menu with lots of stuff for vegetarians."
"Amazing - Must visit!"
The building itself was beautiful, we stayed in Jocks room and were very happy with it. It was well furnished, clean and we liked that they lit the fire for us whilst at dinner so when we returned to our room it was warm. All the little touches were very nice and much appreciated; the hot water bottles and little notes about Giraffes on our bed every night, the hand written welcome note on arrival and the Wine and flowers left in our room to help celebrate our honeymoon.
All the staff were extremely friendly and helpful, probably the best of any hotel we stayed in Kenya, we liked that each room was given a specific staff member to look after you so he got to know us and us him. Peter was exceptionally good to us. Before we travelled we read that the rooms don't have locks on which we thought might be a bit disconcerting but once we were there it didn't bother us at all.
All the food was amazing, I don't think we were given anything we didn't like and they catered very well for vegetarians.
The giraffe interaction was phenomenal and well worth every penny to experience. One morning whilst we were at breakfast I went up to the room to find Eddie patiently standing at the window waiting to be fed.
George the driver was very nice and helpful, we had him for our whole stay and he took us to many places, DSWT, Karen shopping mall, the local craft market and Nairobi museum and was happy to answer our questions as we travelled from place to place. As guests at the manor we were given a private guide around the Giraffe centre which was a nice touch.
We both had treatments while staying at Giraffe manor and they were only okay.
We stayed at 6 places whilst in Kenya and I think this would be our favourite, we will definitely be back."
"Elephant Bedroom review"
The communal area was nice, we enjoyed eating lunch by the river and on the main decking at dinner time. They had a good range of drinks available to purchase. All the staff were very friendly and helpful.
This was one of only two places we stayed where we had a choice at meal times which was a nice treat. Unfortunately I wouldn't say the food is amazing. As a vegetarian I was quite disappointed with the options for the evening meal. Lunch and breakfast were better but not great. The meat main meals were slightly better but nothing to write home about.
We were really happy with our guide Julius, who seemed very experienced and knowledgeable. He was very friendly and easy to get along with. We really enjoyed our safaris with him and even saw the only leopard of the trip. Compared with Kicheche camp where we stayed next you get a lot less jeep time here as you only go out in the morning for a short while as they bring you back to camp for breakfast. The sundowner was great, at a really nice location. We were given the option of a double double or triple triple shot in our pina colada. It seems they do one every second night so depending on when you arrive you get either one or two sundowners.
We've been told that Samburu isn't as good as other place in Kenya for game viewing which may be true (although we did see a leopard here) but we would definitely visit Samburu and Elephant Bedroom again for the proximity and amount of elephants in the area. They are everywhere you turn!"
"Kicheche Mara review"
We loved how the emphasis here is on game drives and everything else is secondary, well it was in our jeep anyway (I'm sure you can chose to be out for less time if you want to?). Most days we left at 6am and didn't return until just before lunch, taking breakfast with us. In the afternoon we went out from 4pm until just before dinner, enjoying a sundowner every night wherever the viewing was at its best. The first night we spend it next to a pride of 20 lions.
Our guide George was brilliant, he made sure we saw everything we wanted. He was an expert at predicting where the animals would go next so whilst everyone else were chasing the animals getting pictures of their backside, George had us positioned perfectly to watch the animal come to us. This happened on numerous occasions and it meant we got great pics. Not only was he a great guide but a very nice person who was a pleasure to spend so much time around and very knowledgeable.
We spend one full day in the reserve and surprisingly actually saw less animals than we had in the conservancy. It was also very very busy with Jeeps. We did manage after waiting patiently for 3 hrs to see a river crossing which was fab although a bit brutal. After visiting the reserve we were glad that we had chosen to stay in the conservancy and do most of our game drives there.
We enjoyed sitting around the camp fire for a pre dinner drink before enjoyable evening meals. The only small issue was no pre warning on what you were going to have for dinner so if you didn't like it tough luck. We had an enjoyable but slightly cringe worthy experience at dinner on our last night where all the staff came out singing and dancing to celebrate our recent nuptials. We all then enjoyed a glass of bubbly which was great."
Safari in Maasai Mara National Reserve
"Safari in Maasai Mara National Reserve review"
29 Aug 2018 • All-day excursion
After visiting the reserve we were glad that we had chosen to stay in the conservancy and do most of our game driver their.
"Kinondo Kwetu review"
It was very quiet when we were there with only around 5 other rooms taken which meant we had the beach and the pools to ourselves most of the stay, however there are loads of sun beds and the main pool is very big so I don't think space would be a problem even when it's full.
The beach was lovely, it was great for a walk and a swim when the tide was in. They have discrete security staff on the grounds at all times so it felt quite safe and secure. All the staff were really helpful and friendly.
The breakfast was ample, however lunch and dinner were just okay. Their vegetarian options were limited. We stayed for 4 nights and on the 4th night they wanted to give me what I'd had on the first night for dinner.
All the excursions they offered were mega expensive ie 600 us dollars to have a boat trip to the marine park. The next place we stayed in Diani did similar trips but for a lot less."
The Sands at Chale Island
"The Sands at Chale Island review"
The only draw back on the overwater suite is that it is situated on the other side of the island from the main resort and is a little isolated. The walk at night to the restaurant is quite dark although there are some lights our torch came in handy. As we were celebrating our honeymoon the gave us a complimentary upgrade to all inclusive, two free spa treatments and a bottle of wine in the room which was very kind and appreciated.
It is a big resort so the main buffet restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner can be quite busy. The food was good and there was a wide variety of choice. We also tried the a la carte restaurant which was practically empty the whole time. The food was nice but the menu small. All the staff were very friendly and helpful.
The beach was very pretty and the pools good. We used the saltwater pool a lot as it's the closest to the overwater suite. We loved the daily activities around the island that they provide like the mangrove tours. If we had been staying for longer we would have taken more advantage of them. The phone app they have is really handy as it has a map of the island and details of what activities are on for the next few days.
I had read reviews online that Chale had a different time zone and it seemed to be causing a lot of confusion, luckily they seem to have done away with it. The spa was beautiful. The rooms are open-air dotted around the mangroves. We tried 4 treatments in total and really enjoyed all of them. The beauticians were really good.
The only thing that would have enhanced our stay would have been if they hadn't removed the plunge pool from our decking. On their website they have youtube videos of all the rooms and ours showed a plunge pool. It would have been handy to take a dip when the tide is out to save you walking up to the pool if you are sun bathing in the room. Put it back please for the next time we stay."
The rooms were clean and comfortable. The food was lovely, the choices at breakfast were limitless.
The 24 hr restaurant is very convenient for late/early morning night travellers.
The roof top bar and pool were very nice, so too was the spa."