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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mrs JD from W London

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

2

Countries visited

5

Lodges stayed in

8

Excursions taken

0

My Sep 2019 trip

Zambia and 4 other countries between 19 Sep 2019 and 12 Oct 2019

Trip rating: Excellent
"We were very impressed with the Local Agents everywhere#

We had 11 flights. We travelled to Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique. We travelled into and out of Jo'Burg in South Africa 3 x times

We had countless Border crossings and 5 pages were completely used up in on new (thankfully) passports----more than 5 pages would have been used up, had the Immigration Staff everywhere, been less considerate and using up pages, rather than constantly stamping new pages!

Every Local Agent arrived early to meet us and took all the hassle out of all the numerous border crossings, particularly on the Chobe River on the boat, where you have to pass through Nambia and Botswana on entering and leaving!

In the end the trip is as good as the Local Agents, and the Local Agents that Expert Africa used were suberb, efficient and charming

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

Well done Amanda. A wonderful trip, very efficiently organised and with great detail

All of our requests were realised on the day and we thank you for all your very hard work"

Chobe Princesses

Chobe Princesses

"Chobe Princesses review"

3 nights Arrived 20 Sep 2019
"Superb as previously, and in fact the game viewing--particularly the bird life which was better than in Feb 2012, when we last went on this boat and booked by Audley Travel that year

This year, there were great guests as well----all turned out to be Australian judges--Mike is also a lawyer---they were far from boring but were great fun and we had some very intelligent conversations as well----they were great travelling companions

Our room seemed better than before---larger with lots of cupboards and the lovely french doors onto out own private balcony!

One thing to mention:

In Feb 2012, each couple had their own private tender + driver

Since the boat is now owned by the Zambezi Queen (previously it was called the Ichobezi), there are only 2 x boats available for water excursions

One tender is for only 2 people and is not covered----this was luckily our tender

The only other tender was for a max of 6 people, which suited our situation fine, as there were 6 Australians travelling together---this was a covered boat

We would not have been so pleased had we had to share the large tender with 4 other people to be honest----for one thing, I have to stop every now and then to go to the loo---as I have a loo problem---and that would have been awkward for me

The other thing, that doesn't particularly bother us, was that our tender for just the 2 of us was not covered---and some of the
Australian guests in the larger tender, said that they could not have coped in an uncovered boat---and I can see their point to be
honest

I think that as previously, when not owned by the Zambezi Queen, there should be a tender for each couple or whatever

Staff and food were superb + the copious amounts of wine consumed!

Although in Sept 20"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Victoria Falls Hotel

Victoria Falls Hotel

"Victoria Falls Hotel review"

3 nights Arrived 23 Sep 2019
"On arrival, we decided to upgrade to a better room----they were almost full to bursting, but the Operations Manager on duty, worked his socks off to accommodate our request--which he managed to do and the room was great"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Old Mondoro Bushcamp

Old Mondoro Bushcamp

"Old Mondoro Bushcamp review"

4 nights Arrived 26 Sep 2019
"Amanda, thanks a million for managing to secure our room request of Room 4---certainly the best on the property, as it faces the lagoon, which attracts lots of wildlife

For your info, they have built another room---room 5----which also faces this lagoon---so also very good

The only problem this year, and problem is not the proper use of that word, is that as the water levels were so low, there was less water in the lagoon, and therefore a few less animals---but that's nature for you---and climate change!

We absolutely love Old Mondoro and it is probably our favourite of the 2 x properties owned by the delightful Cummings family

It has new managers who are good and helpful

The "dinner party "style at dinner times is lovely and again, we met some very nice and interesting people

Two of the guides were very very good---particularly Marshall, but also James was very good

What made Marshall so remarkable is the amount of overseas travel that he has done, which has widened his outlook on everything from the history of countries to the economics of various countries

So. apart from him being a very good guide, he was also a very interesting intelligent guide and we had some great drives with him

There are supposedly many leopards at Old Mondoro, and last time we visited here in Sept 2017, with yourselves. we saw many sightings and many diurnal sightings. This year, despite Marshall's best intentions, we saw only 1 x nocturnal sighting which was a bit disappointing

The same with the lions-----in Sept 2017, we saw lots of good sightings, but there seem to be far less lions around this year, which was a shame

Saw heaps and heaps of elephants here and also on the boat the Chobe Princess, which I forgot to mention

We also saw other animals and loads of birds which was great"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Chiawa Camp

Chiawa Camp

"Chiawa Camp review"

4 nights Arrived 30 Sep 2019
"Chiawa Camp was again really lovely and we met and had dinner with the lovely Grant Cummings and his great 83 year old father, David-----what a great family they are

Again, Amanda, many thanks for getting us our room request---room 7----without doubt the best room to date---apart of course from the Honeymoon suite which we had last time in Sept 2017

Room 7 was very large and beautifully appointed with the best open view of any of the other rooms---it also had a huge beautiful terrace from which to watch the game, and the game did indeed visit the open area outside our room

Evidently, Simon, the General Manager, is about to convert Rooms 1-6 to a similar standard as our room ----room 7---and work is starting in late November this year

The food was good, albeit we did find that 4 courses was too much for dinner to be honest

Great breakfasts also

The game viewing here was a bit disappointing this time unfortunately

We again saw loads and loads of elephants and also impala and kudi, but only a couple of lion sightings, after having eaten a kill, so they were effectively "dead lions" each time----doing nothing except sleeping!

We did have 2 very good afternoon / sunset boat cruises with some great sightings of birds and elephants

Staff and guides were good

Also spent some dinners with the Front of House Manager and the Operations Manager + the General Manager

As previously, they organised a superb outside BBQ dinner at Bedrock---amazing the organisation that goes into this dinner!

Plus they do a special lunch on a boat]

All in all a lovely camp"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
InterContinental O.R. Tambo

InterContinental O.R. Tambo

"InterContinental O.R. Tambo review"

1 night Arrived 4 Oct 2019
"We were only here for a very short stop-over but the hotel, the room, dinner and breakfast were all very good---and they have the advantage of a lovely outside terrace where you can sit to read, relax of eat or drink something

One thing to note for anyone staying perhaps a bit longer than us, was a hotel mentioned to us by a couple at Old Mondoro---called The Peech--30 mins drive from Jo'Burg Airport

Evidently, it is in beautiful gardens and is a really great place to relax if you have longer to wait for a connecting flight---I have not looked at their website, but were we arriving around lunchtime one day, and not then flying again until the late afternoon the following day, then this hotel would be our hotel of choice

So you might like to investigate this hotel for future guests?"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Azura Benguerra

Azura Benguerra

"Azura Benguerra review"

6 nights Arrived 5 Oct 2019
"What an amazing place and one that we intend to return to----will speak to someone at Expert Africa this week

We had what is considered one of the best Villas---Villa no. 18---it is only one of their Standard rooms, and is quite sufficient to be honest

The De-:Luxe have separate lounges, but who wants a lounge when you have so much outside space?

We had lovely palm trees in our private garden, giving us a very open view of the sea

Every Villa, regardless of the price paid, gets a plunge pool----"plunge pool" is not quite what it sounds----it is quite large and I was almost out of my depth on tiptoes---and I am 5 ft 5 ins!----some plunge pool

There are 20 villas in total

There are about 9 x Standard Villas like ours

There are also about 6 xs De-luxe Villas, with these separate lounges that I have mentioned

Then there are 2 x Royal Suites, with large pools

Then there is 1 x Family Villa with 2 rooms I believe and 1 or 2 pools

Then finally there is 1 x Presidential Suite with 3 rooms, + a dining room and kitchen + their own butler ----way over the top to us!

This hotel has a very unique idea and one that we loved-----each Villa has a "Personal Host"

He is not a Butler as such (thank goodness---hate the idea of Butlers waiting on you!)----but this guy tends to all your needs, whether that be bringing drinks to our Villa or meeting us at dinner each night and serving us----really brilliant idea and SO MUCH BETTER THAN THE DREADED BUTLER!!!!

We were exceedingly fortunate in having the wonderful Carlos as our Personal Host----he has not travelled anywhere, but is highly intelligent and wanted to have very interesting conversations with us on every topic under the sun----he knows far more about BREXIT and the dreaded Trump than most British people!!

I should add that he was never intrusive in any way---it is just our way to try to get to know any staff wherever we are----it makes our stay so much more enjoyable, and hopefully makes their job looking after us a bit more personal and interesting for them

The food was very good and there were as many drinks as you wanted--both alcoholic and non-alcoholic

At 5 pm every night, your Personal Host brings to your Villa the "cocktail of the evening"---a lovely idea

And the beach---miles and miles of pure white sand with no seaweed at all

No snorkelling from the beach as they sadly don't have a House Reef

Meals on the beach---whether that is breakfasts, lunches or dinners----all of these meals can be served on the actual beach and at night, there are no words to describe the magic of millions of lanterns and candles everywhere dotted all over the beach

Pure romantic magic!

There were 2 x free activities---an evening Dhow sunset cruise lasting 1 x hour---we didn't do this this time, as sometimes the sea was a tiny bit rough----Mike gets easily seasick and I get frightened!

The other free activity was a 2-2 and a half trip around the island by Land Rover---there are 3 x villages on this island, so pristine, neat and clean were the adobe houses, that it was incredible!

The hotel runs something called The Rainbow Trust and has built the school and the hospital, both of which we were shown---10 dollars per person on this Landrover trip goes back to the communities

This hotel really is "putting things back" to he community

Unless you dictate otherwise, 20 dollars is added to every person's bill for the Rainbow Trust---a brilliant thing to do! Or you can opt to give more on departure

There are various other activities that you can do which are expensive but really worthwhile

One is a 4 hour snorkel, picnic and tour around 2 other islands at a cost of 197 dollars per person

Or you can just snorkel, for a fee I cannot remember

Or you can just have a picnic somewhere for about 100 dollars per person

I also think that it is possible to take a fishing trip

A superb hotel, and one which we plan to return to next year--will discuss this with one of you very soon"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

Lower Zambezi camps and its many activities

Zambia between 14 Sep 2017 and 25 Sep 2017

Trip rating: Excellent
"Amazing---wonderful----superb----above our expectations----very varied----great work done on the ground prior to the trip----from Chris spending so much time helping to ascertain whether there were Tstse flies ----i forgot to mention that there were very few, as Chris had indicated----thank you so much----to Freddie doing all the "hard graft"

We want to repeat the experience in Sept 2019 (God willing") + add on quite a few things---so probably a 19 or 20 day trip

We will call now to discuss this very soon

Millions of thanks to the entire team, both in the UK and also in Zambia"

Old Mondoro Bushcamp

Old Mondoro Bushcamp

"Old Mondoro Bushcamp review"

4 nights Arrived 15 Sep 2017
"Wonderful camp----very remote and just what we love

Staff were wonderful, as were the guides

Room 4 was wonderful---thank you, Freddie for suggesting that we request this room----the best, and superb for photography---it was like our own personal Watering Hole!

Michel and Roen were great hosts, and gave us a private dinner on our own verandah on one night----such a wonderful surprise

All meals were great and the food was very good

We loved the camp fire at breakfast, + at pre dinner for drinks and after dinner for drinks---if one wanted to stay up a bit: this was great for chatting to fellow guests and getting to know them and to experience activities of the day

We loved the very smart "dinner party" table, beautifully laid and completely outside----magical

Cannot think of anything to improve this camp----except for one very small thing---could they please provide tea and coffee in the rooms at wake-up time---as Chiawa did, and many other camps do

ONE BIG REQUEST: please do not let them get any larger----small is very definitely beautiful!!!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Chiawa Camp

Chiawa Camp

"Chiawa Camp review"

5 nights Arrived 19 Sep 2017
"A superb camp and run beautifully. Having so loved Old Mondoro and its informal luxury, we were a bit concerned that Chiawa would be a bit too "posh" for us

Yes, it was beautifully run, but without all that "poshness" that we would have hated

It also was very laid back and had informal luxury

Food superb

We simply loved the range of activities available----unusual and "right up our street"

We felt the same on this point at Old Mondoro

Rooms were superb---we had one night in room 6 and then for the next nearly 5 days we were moved to The Honeymoon Suite---for no cost: This was unbelievably superb and can't begin to say how huge and spacious it was-----so many places to sit inside and outside

So many candles everywhere, which I used every solitary night

Our own pool

Our own loungers

Our own camp fire

I could go on and on

We even had 2 x private dinners at our Suite----the staff call it "The Palace"

We realise that we will never get it again, as next year they are going to officially start to sell it, and the rates will no doubt be exorbitant!

However, for any of your clients wanting to really splash out, then we cannot recommend highly enough this Honeymoon Suite---it is "to die for"!

We intend going back to both camps in 2019---in Sept----and would request Room 7 as our 1st choice and Room 8 as our 2nd choice

No complaints whatsoever

However, there was a camp fire at breakfast, but never in the evening----I mentioned this, and was told that I only had to ask to have one built---that was not the point---there is nowhere like a camp fire for getting clients to mingle and to discuss their day's activities---like a camp fire

Their answer in truth, was that they don;t want to wake up guests who have gone to bed at very early hours (from our point of view!) by the guides needing to walk them home, when they might be a little noisy, and wake up the sleeping guests!

I don't agree with this----one is only talking about maybe sitting at the camp fire after dinner for an hour --max!

As it is, with dinner at 8 pm, most of the time, dinner is over by 930 pm at the latest----and although one gets up at 0530, a further 45 mins chatting around a fire, is hardly late

But I doubt that they will change their minds re a camp fire every night----of course, as the nights get much warmer, it is almost too hot for a fire!

We had a wonderful dinner off-site at what they call their "Bedrock" facility----all the tables are set up completely in the open,beside a red canyon, with lamps hung everywhere all over the canyon------too magical to express----and all the hard work that goes into making these dinners so special, is unbelievable!

Again--please do not let them get any bigger!

We met and spent quite a lot of time with Grant, the owner---had lunch and dinner and many chats with him on his "2 sleeps" at Chiawa---as he calls them---a great fun, completely down to earth with a lovely sense of humour

We all discussed convservation quite a bit, as Mike is a Trustee of both Born Free, headed up by Virginia Mckenna and Will----and he is also a Trustee of The Galapagos Trust---so we all had heaps in common---and of course Grant has done a lot to encourate the other camps in the area to see the benefits of getting involved in conservation of the Lowe Zambezi---which they now do----good on him

In fact, we asked to visit the Conservation site near to Royal airport, on our way to Royal to fly to Lusaka, and we spent nearly 1 hour with them---the do a great and very necessary job

Mike is intending putting in money into this Conservation project on the Lower Zambezi

So a wonderful experience"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

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