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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Kathy from Tucson, AZ

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

2

Countries visited

2

Lodges stayed in

9

Excursions taken

0

Great but Flawed Namibia trip

Namibia between 2 Apr 2017 and 14 Apr 2017

Trip rating: Excellent
"Let's start with the positives. Our guide (Lawrence) is a wonderful guy and skilled guide. Can't speak highly enough for him. The sites we visited were excellent, and the accommodations varied from "satisfactory" to "outstanding" with an average I'd say B+. The meals they provided were upscale and very good - whether at restaurants or in the tented camps. Game viewing was excellent. It was obviously a finely tuned itinerary - we saw an amazing variety in the time we had. Everything went like clockwork.

The overall experience was brilliant, but with two major caveats. First, they PACKED the vehicle (Land Cruiser) with EIGHT passengers (there are nine seats, including the driver and passenger seats). There was no storage space available, so water bottles/daypacks/cameras had to be underfoot the whole time. The leg room was minimal in some of the seats, especially for tall people.. The passenger seat has no access to the roof for photos or viewing while on safari. Some seats are more comfortable than others, so we were jockeying on a daily basis for who got the crappy seats. We joked about "business class" seats and coach. It sucked. Safari viewing with the top up was difficult, with seven of us trying to cram ourselves into the small viewing area. The saving grace was that our fellow passengers were all good natured and willing to take their turn in the bad seats.

To add insult to injury, after the first day or so, we noticed the air conditioning in the vehicle was failing. Coolant leak. Lawrence got a recharge the evening of the day we discovered the problem, but whatever caused the leak in the first place wasn't diagnosed - nor fixed. So we didn't have A/C for most of the trip, and some of the days were 40 degrees C. So we had to drive with the windows open. Most of the roads were gravel. It got pretty uncomfortable. It's hot (it's the desert...). Dusty. Every time we encountered a dust trail from another vehicle, we had to quickly close all the windows, opening them after the "smoke" had cleared. In the heat.

There were other problems with the vehicle as well - the doors wouldn't unlock much of the time. The roof leaked when it rained, turning the front row of seats into a pool. There was often a gas smell in the passenger compartment.

This was billed (and priced) as a luxury tour. For most aspects, it delivered that. But the transportation was more what you'd expect from a bare-bones budget travel agency. We'd go back to Namibia in a heartbeat, but I wouldn't book with Karibu unless we had assurances that their transportation wouldn't be packed like sardines, and the equipment was properly serviced."

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Utopia Boutique Hotel

"Weird hotel. You can do better."

2 nights Arrived 2 Apr 2017
"Rooms were nice, but hotel was weird. Seems combined with other businesses - our room was above an optomitrist. A lot of trip hazards around the strung-out property. No one at reception when we needed help, ever. Honor bar in room but didn't provide ice on premisis. No dinner available. Without a car, we had to walk a couple of blocks down busy streets after dark to find nearest place. I would recommend finding an alternative place."
Average
Location
Average
Service
Poor
Activities
Average
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Facilities
Average
Frans Indongo Lodge

Frans Indongo Lodge

"Wonderful lodge after a long days drive"

1 night Arrived 4 Apr 2017
"Beautiful lodge, beautiful rooms, beautiful setting, excellent food, excellent service. Plus the extra of a nearby waterhole. Wish we could have stayed here for a couple of days."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Okaukuejo Camp

Okaukuejo Camp

"Okaukuejo Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 6 Apr 2017
"Location, location, location. Rooms were OK, though a bit small. Food was buffet style, of varying quality. Some good, some not so good. Often overcooked. Service was marginal. But that's not what really matters. It is the middle of Etosha Park. It has a great waterhole right at the lodge, with excellent viewing opportunities, including lit-up at night. Many animal viewing opportunties while driving around the nearby area. That's what really counts."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Average
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Facilities
Good
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Damaraland Mobile Camp

"Luxury camping in a beautiful location"

2 nights Arrived 8 Apr 2017
"This is the way I like to camp! An amazingly easy and comfortable way to "rough it". Beautiful siting for the camp. Only downside is that it was very hot while we were there, even after dark, and it was a bit uncomfortable."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Hansa Hotel

Hansa Hotel

"Fancy hotel, but skip the dinner"

2 nights Arrived 10 Apr 2017
"Very nice European style hotel, quite fancy. We ate at their upscale restaurant, and were quite disappointed. Meat was overdone, very salty, and had a heavy, not very tasty sauce. The 50's are calling, they want their restaurant back. Breakfast, however, was excellent. There were several major service failures as well. It was nearly impossible to get ice to the room - we'd call, they'd agree, then it never showed up. An overeager bellman put a suitcase that didn't belong to us in our truck. It's a fine place to stay, but I'll bet you could do better at the same price."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Average
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Average
Namib Naukluft Lodge

Namib Naukluft Lodge

"we did not stay here"

2 nights Arrived 12 Apr 2017
"we camped, rather than staying at the lodge"
Excellent

Botswana in March

Botswana between 18 Mar 2017 and 27 Mar 2017

Trip rating: Excellent
"March is a non-traditional time to visit Botswana, but we found it awesome. The central Kalahari is bursting with life. And the Okavango Delta was awesome too - though the grass was tall, and many of the roads were muddy.

Expert Africa did a great job at putting together a diverse itinerary; in every camp we saw different types of game and landscapes. Their description of the camps and game likely to be seen was very accurate. All the camps were great - well above our expectations. And the off-season rates were very good for the quality of the experience.

This was our first safari, and we were mesmerized by the experience. It is amazing how close the game is willing to come, and how much there is to see. It's like driving into the middle of a Natural Geographic documentary. One of the peak experiences of our lives."

Tau Pan Camp

Tau Pan Camp

"Awesome in spring time!"

3 nights Arrived 18 Mar 2017
"Loved the absolute remoteness of the site. And it was bursting with life in mid-March. Nice variety of game and birds.

Guides were very good, with lots of background information provided. Game drives were nice and long, and we headed out right at dawn.

Food was good, not great. Showers were weak. But, considering how remote we were, it was pretty darn comfortable.

All in all, a really great camp. I would return."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Nxai Pan Camp

Nxai Pan Camp

"Zebras, Elephants, Lions"

3 nights Arrived 21 Mar 2017
"In late March, the area was full of game. Water hole out front of camp (at a distance), with lots of zebras and elephants and a bit of everything else.

Saw lions and cheetahs several times on drives. Downside of nearby water hole with lots of zebras is that there were a lot of annoying flies at the camp. Not a problem in the rooms, only in the central/dining part of the lodge. Food was especially tasty. Rooms are very large and comfortable.

Was disappointed in the guiding. The guide was knowledgeable, but rarely shared any background information on animal habits, the locale, etc. Tried unsuccessfully to pry more info out of him. Also we spent too much time sitting in the truck and waiting for carnivores to wake up and walk around.

There were signs of wear around the camp - our deck had a couple boards buckled, for example."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Shinde Camp

Shinde Camp

"Excellent camp, great food, lots of animals"

3 nights Arrived 24 Mar 2017
"We traveled in late March. This is an excellent camp. The lodgings/food are a step above the other camps we stayed at (which were also excellent). Very comfortable, large rooms.

They had a commercial style kitchen, and the meals were outstanding. Lots to see on game drives. Highlight was a pack of wild dogs that lived nearby - we saw them every day, often while they were hunting. Hippos, elephants, lechwe - excellent variety of game. Guide was excellent, and we only had one other guest join us on game drives.

Few downsides to report. The mokoro boat ride was peaceful, but not that interesting. Should have done another game drive. Compared to other camps we visited, it seems like we traveled the same roads over and over again, rather than explore further - probably because of reserve size. The floors in the bathroom are lovely varnished wood - and extremely slippery when wet. My husband had a very bad fall near the shower.

Would love to come back here again."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

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