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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr &a Mrs G from Ringwood

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

2

Lodges stayed in

10

Excursions taken

1

The adventure of a lifetime

Namibia and 1 other country between 18 Jun 2017 and 7 Jul 2017

Trip rating: Excellent
"This was the trip of a lifetime. With our children, aged 20 & 19, we were looking for a holiday the whole family could enjoy and we certainly got it. Everything went off perfectly. The planning of the trip with Sabina and her advice was of the highest standard. Everything was exactly as described.

There were representatives to welcome us on arrival at Windhoek, there were no booking misunderstandings at any lodges, the transfer from Kasane in Botswana to Livingstone in Zambia went smoothly and lastly the transfer to Livingstone airport, all on time and according to plan. We dropped our car off in Kasane, were collected by safari vehicle and transferred to the river where we were taken across by boat into Zambia and collected on the other side with the driver helping us get through the 'interesting' Zambian border checkpoint (the Zambian officials were rude and unhelpful well below the standard in Botswana or Namibia).

The border official, despite having a water dispenser in her office, sent our driver back to the car to get her a bottle of water! Bearing in mind that we had driven about 4 hours from our last lodge in the Caprivi and arrived early, the logistics of this transfer was impressive. (Just for info there are trucks queuing at this crossing as they move between Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana for as far as the eye can see with it taking them on average 2 to 3 weeks to get across - per the local taxi driver - so I could imagine the transfer potentially going horribly wrong!).

Just a tip, when arriving in Botswana we needed to dip ALL our shoes (foot and mouth prevention) so make sure you have all shoes handy so you don't have to unpack suitcases at the border.

The design of the three week trip, balancing the length of drives, stop-overs and rest days while still trying to see as much as possible was brilliant and could not have been done without the expert advice of Sabina and her patience in the early days while she tried to understand what we wanted to get out of the holiday.

We travelled during June and July and the weather was fabulous. Warm sunny days and mostly cool nights. We certainly needed warm jackets for the evenings whereas during the day we needed shorts and t-shirts.

Tips that worked for us:
(1) in the U.K. we purchased a tracks4africa map of Namibia (£10) online and transferred it onto our Garmin SatNav which we took with us and this made navigating stress free.
(2) Covering our suitcases in bin bags to keep them dust free was essential as the canopy definitely was not dust proof.
(3) We purchased a cooler box locally and this allowed us to keep our picnic food fresh and drinks cool for the long drives. You can buy ice for the cooler box at any service station;
(4) an upgrade to a 4x4 gave us extra flexibility and comfort on long drives.

We were surprised at how expensive most of the lodges were so this was, for us, a particularly expensive holiday but in the end worth every penny.

I would not hesitate to recommend Expert Africa and would use them again."

Arranged By Sabina Hekandjo


Hilltop Guesthouse

Hilltop Guesthouse

"Hilltop Guesthouse review"

1 night Arrived 18 Jun 2017
"Excellent accommodation with a very comfortable mattress which was most welcome after the long flight from London. There was an onsite guard keeping an eye on the entrance to the property and the cars in the driveway. For me the best was the location which was a short walk downhill to Joes Beerhouse where we had a most memorable dinner. The coffee machine in the room was also a winner.

The owner came out in the morning to speak to us and we appreciated the personal touch. He advised us to buy a cooler box and told us that ice would be available at all service stations so we could keep our lunch drinks/provisions cool. This turned out to be a great suggestion and worked well for us.

As we had a double cab vehicle with a canopy, he also recommended that when driving we should keep the canopy windows slightly open to avoid the pressure building up in the back of the vehicle and excessive dust being sucked in. In truth the dust was so bad it was only the bin bags that saved our suitcases from certain death!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Desert Homestead

Desert Homestead

"Desert Homestead review"

2 nights Arrived 19 Jun 2017
"Staff were very friendly and happy to assist when asked although not that proactive. Unlike other lodges we stayed at, no one offered to help carry our bags from the car to the room (I later saw a note in reception saying that if we wanted help moving luggage to please ask). Facilities were good and rooms comfortable. We found the evening meal choice very average although the staff tried very hard to entertain us with their singing.

However, we did find that it was a little too far away from Sossusvlei especially considering that there is still a long drive once you get to Sesriem gate to access Dune 45, the Deadvlei, etc. Next time, depending on costs, I would consider somewhere located closer to Sesriem gate as the sightseeing in the park/reserve was our main reason for visiting the area."
Good
Location
Average
Service
Good
Activities
Average
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Facilities
Excellent
Villa Margherita

Villa Margherita

"Villa Margherita review"

3 nights Arrived 21 Jun 2017
"Fantastically friendly staff who were very helpful. The rooms (King & Queen) were huge and very comfortable. The best though was the location being very central with a number of excellent restaurants within easy walking distance. 10minute walk to the beachfront and then you could walk or run along the promenade or if going north, go all the way to a great shopping centre 4-5km away (the last few 100 metres is on sand though).

Would stay here again.

Whilst here, we organised a pelican Point kayaking trip for these travellers. They commented:

Exceeded our expectations

Just do it. On our drive to the seal colony we learnt about the local salt industry and the history of Walvis Bay.

We saw greater and lesser flamingoes, jackals and thousands of seals. The seals swam around us, jumped onto our kayaks to hitch a lift and we tickled their tummies. What a privilege. Jeanne was fantastic. She took photos and videos of our experience which she emailed to us later in the day and provided sandwiches and drinks after kayaking."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Kayaking with seals

Kayaking with seals

"Exceeded our expectations"

22 Jun 2017 • Morning excursion

Just do it. On our drive to the seal colony we learnt about the local salt industry and the history of Walvis Bay.

We saw greater and lesser flamingoes, jackals and thousands of seals. The seals swam around us, jumped onto our kayaks to hitch a lift and we tickled their tummies. What a privilege. Jeanne was fantastic. She took photos and videos of our experience which she emailed to us later in the day and provided sandwiches and drinks after kayaking.
Excellent
Doro Nawas

Doro Nawas

"The best service in Namibia"

2 nights Arrived 24 Jun 2017
"The best service in Namibia. Incredibly friendly, helpful and knowledgeable staff. A wonderful setting. Little touches included plenty of cold drinking water with cold flasks of water provided in the rooms too. Don't expect wifi so be prepared! We would definitely stay here again and recommend it to our friends.

We were especially impressed by the layout of the dinning/reception area: indoor or balcony dinning, a central open air boma (surrounded by beanbags if you feel like being 'super relaxed'!) and stairs up to the roof for star gazing.

After dinner we went up to the roof where Marcus treated us to an hour of stargazing. Marcus provided a detailed explanation on stars, planets, constellations, etc. with some direction from his laser pointer.
The rooms were very impressive with indoor and outdoor showers. We rolled our beds out the room and slept under the stars after putting our new found star gazing knowledge to the test. Wonderful. Beware of the mosquitoes though if you choose to abandon the safety of the mosquito net in the room!

In the local area we visited the organ pipes, burnt mountain, petrified forest and Twyfelfontein (selfdrive). They were easily accessible but we only enjoyed visiting the rock engravings at Twyfelfontein"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Okaukuejo Camp

Okaukuejo Camp

"Great waterhole - terrible camp"

2 nights Arrived 26 Jun 2017
"The positive-
Great waterhole where you can sit at your leisure and watch all the animals come down to drink and observe the dynamics of their interaction- especially when the rhino and elephant make their appearance. It is floodlit at night which makes for great viewing. You do need to be patient though as there are times when there is little to see and then an hour later it can be all action. The Bush Chalet was well located as it was a quick stroll to the waterhole and if you saw something interesting approaching the waterhole (e.g. elephant, rhino, etc.) you could quickly pop back to the chalet to call the rest of the family.

The negative-
The staff in reception taking registration/payment were the worst we experienced in Namibia. They were rude and disinterested.
The food supplies in the shop was very limited. Fortunately we had been forewarned and taken our own supplies so we could braai/BBQ.
In the chalet there was only a fridge, kettle, two mugs and two teaspoons, an outdoor braai but nothing else. It was a real hassle just trying to get plates, knives and forks (although we were on a B&B basis it was self catering accommodation) and they wouldn't supply us with bowls.
The breakfast was so bad most of us skipped it.
The swimming pools were 'under refurbishment' - this construction work along with the green mucky pools located right next to the restaurant made it an unpleasant area.
Chalets were not well maintained with doors not closing, toilets not flushing properly...
The waterhole was very busy with people which detracted from the overall ambiance - this made it feel quite artificial.
We had been forewarned to moderate expectations and this was certainly needed.

Despite the amazing waterhole we would never stay here again. There are so many other fantastic places to choose from."
Terrible
Location
Excellent
Service
Terrible
Facilities
Terrible
Rooms
Poor
Food
Terrible
Onguma Bush Camp

Onguma Bush Camp

"Wonderful and relaxing setting"

2 nights Arrived 28 Jun 2017
"Great location just outside Etosha with its own small waterhole. The main area is built on a deck overlooking the waterhole with comfortable lounge seating in addition to the restaurant. A truly beautiful place to spend your time and watch the sun set. During the day we were able to relax around the pool which was adjacent to the waterhole. There was a game hide to view the animals at close quarters and in the evening before dinner we sat around the boma sharing experiences with other guests. There was also good wifi available.

The rondavels were a little on the small side but there was no reason to be in them other than to sleep so it wasn't uncomfortable. One evening there was no hot water as the gas heating system broke but this was repaired after a few hours.

The staff in the restaurant were fantastic and the chef the best. This food and its presentation was of five star standard.

The game drive and the safari walk we did in their own reserve was average. We wouldn't do the safari walk again as it was too 'tame' and not far enough to feel we had even stretched our legs. Compared to the vast Etosha the private reserve did feel quite small but since the camp is just outside the Etosha gates you really have the best of both.

We would stay here again without hesitation."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Average
Rooms
Average
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Hakusembe River Lodge

Hakusembe River Lodge

"Enjoyed our short visit"

1 night Arrived 30 Jun 2017
"A lovely lodge, well laid out with great views over the river. We also enjoyed relaxing around the pool. This was a very convenient place to stay with welcoming and friendly staff. The bungalows were very comfortable, some of them located directly overlooking the river and others in a row behind (we had one of each). A nice touch was the fresh coffee brought to our rooms in the morning.

Dinner was buffet style with plenty of selection and the chef on hand giving you all the info you needed about the dishes he had prepared. A very personal approach.

For those wanting to stretch their legs it was safe to run (or walk) along the drive leading to the lodge.

While this lodge did not have the intimate feel of some of the others we stayed at we thoroughly enjoyed it and would visit again."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Ndhovu Safari Lodge

Ndhovu Safari Lodge

"An authtic African safari experience"

2 nights Arrived 1 Jul 2017
"Our stay here felt like an authentic African safari experience - more rustic than plush but perfect for our needs. We were accommodated in tented chalets right on the rivers edge, water was heated up the old fashioned way (wood fire under a big boiler), there was an honesty bar in case no one was there and dinner was served at a single large table with all the guests, owner and senior staff. There was plenty of activity from the hippos in the river with their continual grunting and snorting and one came into the camp at night to graze. It was great. There was also continual activity from beautiful birds around the tents.

Dinner was superb - kudu stroganoff on the first night and oryx lasagne on the second.

The lodge surroundings were kept very tidy with all the leaves raked up every day. There was a nice deck for viewing across the river and we saw a herd of 30/40 elephant on the other side. We did a boat trip which was interesting; seeing the hippos close up, some crocodiles and plenty of beautiful birds (we particularly enjoyed the bee-eaters and kingfishers).

Nearby there was a small game reserve which we visited a couple of times (self drive). This was probably one of our favourite game reserves; although it was quite small it was interesting with lots of game and it only took a few minutes to get to from the lodge. We were pleased to have a good 4x4 as some of the tracks had very soft sand and I wouldn't have wanted to get stuck when I came around a courner to find myself facing a herd of 15 elephant.

On the morning of leaving I went to load up our car to find it had been washed for us. Unexpected and very much appreciated."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Nkasa Lupala Tented Lodge

Nkasa Lupala Tented Lodge

"Fantastic eco-lodge"

2 nights Arrived 3 Jul 2017
"The tented accommodation was very comfortable - built on stilts, private and with stunning views out onto the African wilderness. Water was heated by solar power so don't shower for too long or you won't have hot water the next morning! Hot water bottles awaited us in our beds when returning from dinner which was most welcome. As the camp is not fenced you are escorted from the lodge to your room after dark. The main lodge had fantastic views, different viewing decks, a boma (great for sitting around before and after dinner) and a swimming pool. We really enjoyed sitting around the boma talking to the senior staff who joined us and other guests from around the world. (We started to get to know some guests from previous lodges as were probably following similar routes across the Caprivi.)

Staff were incredibly friendly, knowledgable and helpful. We did a safari walk which was interesting and the safari combo (game drive and boat trip) was our best safari trip on our 3 week holiday. Being on the boat, working our way through the river channels and viewing the game and birds close up was fantastic - so much better than from a car. We felt that the game guides here were particularly accommodating to our needs and we never felt like we were being rushed.

If you wanted to, you could self drive through the game reserve (permit required) and we had the impression that there was a lot of investment and development underway so perhaps this reserve will be even better in the future. What we particularly liked was that this was an eco-lodge with a strong focus on working with the local community.

We would stay here again and if we could, would have extended our visit beyond the two nights we had.

The drive to the lodge was interesting and certainly tested out our 4x4 - doing that drive in the rainy season must be interesting!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Average
Facilities
Excellent
Avani Victoria Falls

Avani Victoria Falls

"Perfect location - would stay here again"

2 nights Arrived 5 Jul 2017
"The most perfect location with easy access to Victoria Falls.

Incredibly friendly staff with five star service and good facilities on site (including a doctor/clinic). The swimming pool was huge and the grounds well maintained and regularly patrolled by security people.
The hotel was not too busy which made it very comfortable - I can't comment on what it might be like if very busy.

We spent time visiting the Falls which was mind blowing - totally impressive. River levels were quite high. We had organised to go white water rafting and kayaking and we were collected from outside their activity centre. We would stay here again."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent

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