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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr S & Ms M from Surrey

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

2

Countries visited

3

Lodges stayed in

7

Excursions taken

0

My Mar 2011 trip

South Africa between 4 Mar 2011 and 12 Mar 2011

Trip rating: Excellent
"We had a very good time, although it started badly with a delayed long-haul flight, missed connection which we had to sort out ourselves, then a call from the Game Lodge to say they were flooded out so don't come this evening. EA found us a hotel in PE which turned out to be really great and a relief to have found somewhere after a difficult journey. Next day we had a blown tyre - felt like trip was fated. But thereafter all went well.

We loved Samara and had a good time in Plettenburg area, although we felt the Plettenburg hotel was not quite us. Weather wasn't great but hey, we were away from home/work in March somewhere warm and beautiful.

And, most importantly, we had a great sighting of Aadvark that really made the whole trip a success."

Arranged By Claire Scott


Samara Karoo Lodge

Samara Karoo Lodge

"Samara Private Game Reserve review"

3 nights Arrived 5 Mar 2011
"Very friendly, we liked the fact it was small so few other people there. Beautiful setting, well away from the rest of the world. Room was great, food excellent and plenty of local wildlife to interest us.

The weather was poor and we were telephoned by the lodge when we arrived in PE to advise not to travel up that day. We appreciated their thought and it was the right call.

Having arrived in the reserve we had a burst tyre. The Lodge managers organised a replacement and took all the hassle out of the problem."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
The Plettenberg

The Plettenberg

"The Plettenberg review"

4 nights Arrived 8 Mar 2011
"A very nice hotel on a superb headland location but a bit too formal and fancy for our tastes. The room was fine with a nice view; the food was very good but there was something missing.

We visited Emily Moon a couple of times and that was much more like the boutique Africa one wants."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good

Tanzania safari February 2008

Tanzania and 1 other country between 3 Feb 2008 and 19 Feb 2008

Trip rating: Excellent
"We had a great time. Some of our preceding comments are critical but these are finer details; the overall holiday was marvellous.

We do want to point out that February in Dar, Selous, Ruaha and Mahale is wet season. It did rain a lot and made roads in the Selous very difficult. Overall we got to see lots of game and other wildlife but it was not always easy. We would love to do this again in the dry season to see the difference.

Our itinerary involved several domestic flight connections and transfers but all worked perfectly. Curiously the only place where we had to hand over a voucher was the Holiday Inn in Dar.

It would be good if camps could provide more information and maps on their situation and ecology. It seems odd to come all this way to places specialising in the natural environment and find so little background material."

Arranged By Claire Scott


Fumba Beach Lodge

Fumba Beach Lodge

"Fumba Beach Lodge review"

3 nights Arrived 4 Feb 2008
"An ideal place for simply relaxing, yet still with sufficient interest for the curious naturalist to explore. We found the beaches were great: not pristine white sand but a mix of golden sand, fine pebbles and coraline rock. It is strongly tidal so an ever changing scene with lots of activity from local fishermen. There is plenty of wildlife, including an abundance of crabs and a good range of wading birds, including some 200 of the spectacular crab plover.

The rooms are excellent - we had a suite - which included an upstairs terrace, good verandah with hammock and shaded loungers on the beach. Elsewhere the hotel has lots of nooks and crannies which are ideal for sitting around and relaxing.

As we only stayed 3 nights we did not do any activities (although made use of the excellent spa) but would definitely have needed to do more if staying longer.

Meals were good and each evening they laid on something different; 1st night was on the restaurant terrace; second night on the beach; and third night a lovely surprise private dinner on our verandah.

The staff were approachable and friendly and taught us a few words of Swahili.

As with all places we visited there was next to no information on the local geography/ecology and no maps to help orientate ourselves."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Selous Impala Camp

Selous Impala Camp

"Selous Impala Camp review"

4 nights Arrived 7 Feb 2008
"Contrary to the impressions given in the Expert Africa brochure this is definitely wet season in the Selous. The tracks were very difficult to drive and on some days it was touch and go for flights to land at the local airstrip. Most of the rain was at night so our daytime activities were not affected, but the weather did seem to have a dampening affect on the animals - we saw plenty but it was slow going. Birdlife was, however, spectacular, especially all the bee-eaters and kingfishers, and storks, herons and egrets along the river.

The camp itself was brilliant. For us the best feature is that with only 8 tents they nevertheless have six vehicles, plus boats. This means that you effectively get your own driver and guide for the whole time, unlike other camps where you would have to pay extra for such exclusivity. Our guide was a South African who was very knowledgeable and passionate about conservation. The walking safari was well worth doing.

There was one afternoon when inexplicably all guests were sent off in two groups of six for boat safaris (with just a pilot and no guide in each boat). This was out of character from the way all other activities had been organised and we did point this out to the managers who were apologetic but did not have a real explanation.

The camp management and staff were very friendly and approachable. You can mix with other guests over drinks but generally we had separate tables for meals and were not forced all to eat at same time. This is very good.

The camp itself is a beautiful location perched on the river bank and we found our tent perfectly comfortable. Masai guards escort you to and from your tent after dark.

As with all other places this camp lacked maps and basic information on local geography/ecology. The bird checklist provided was pretty comprehensive but had a few errors which would annoy serious birders but is a minor point overall."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Mwagusi Safari Camp

Mwagusi Safari Camp

"Mwagusi Safari Camp review"

4 nights Arrived 11 Feb 2008
"Game viewing in the Ruaha was more productive than in the Selous. The animals are less skittish and more approachable. We saw many different groups of lions and once saw some cheetahs as well as an excellent variety of other game including less frequently seen creatures like lesser kudu, Kirk's dikdik and bat-eared fox. Birdlife was prolific.

The roads are better maintained (apparently the difference between this being a National Park and Selous a Game Reserve). The weather was also much less humid and a bit cooler but it still rained a lot.

Mwagusi Camp we found to be a bit formal - the African staff work hard but do not interact with you, which we felt a pity. Meals are taken with all the other guests together. Depending on who you are thrown in with this could be an absolute horror, but we were lucky and had a very convivial group on this occasion.

Safari activities were all game drives - we were usually with two other guests on each drive. Private safaris cost extra. Our guide was excellent, and unusually knowledgeable on birds (including little brown jobs). Unusually they had field guides in the vehicles and our guide and driver were frequently referring to them when we stopped; continually building up their knowledge.

It rained a lot, especially overnight, and this brought forth one of the notable features of this camp. When the river rises, vehicles cannot cross, so the camp is marooned on the far bank. To get across there is a wooden seat suspended from a rope and pulley system spanning the river. It is great fun and adds to the adventure but is time consuming and on such days it is best to organise all day drives - especially as at this time of year the wildlife is active throughout the day.

The food was probably the best of all the camps we visited on this trip. We especially liked that it was self-serve from a buffet so we could choose what and how much. All camps did well for vegetarian food but this one excelled.

The thatched bandas with a tent inside were fine but we did not really do anything but sleep in them.

Once again the lack of local maps and geography/ecology information was disappointing.

Most reviews go on about Chris Fox - he was absent when we were there so no comment."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Greystoke Mahale

Greystoke Mahale

"Greystoke Camp review"

4 nights Arrived 15 Feb 2008
"The experience of observing wild chimpanzees at close quarters was totally enthralling. To do so in such a beautiful setting is beyond words.

The experience is very different from other safari lodges/national parks in that the focus is on one species and you learn about the individual characters and relationships within the chimpanzee community. The excellent guides know each individual by name and who they are related to and associate with and their ranking in the group. Totally fascinating.

It was also a nice change to be somewhere with no vehicles - all acess is by boat - and all game viewing by foot, without the need for armed wardens.

Other widlife included red-tailed and blue monkeys and red colobus. Birds are hard to observe in the thick forest but there are some unusual species for those with patience.

The camp was lovely and the African staff very friendly. But we did have a couple of gripes: all twelve guests had to eat together at all meal times, even breakfast heaven forbid. We felt the others were a dull lot and we would much have preferred to avoid the enforced mixing. That of course is the luck of the draw but it does nevertheless take the gloss off.

We were not impressed with the camp manageress who did not convey any real enthusiasm or interest for the wildlife and local ecology and was more into 'fun activities' and talked about setting up yoga sessions etc. She was a fine hostess in some respects but lacked a bit of sensitivity to different guests interests and was somewhat out of place in this camp. Her No 2 seemed quite bored and was clearly looking forward to moving on.

There is some good information provided on the chimpanzees but no maps and little on the local geography and ecology"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Southern Sun Dar

Southern Sun Dar

"Holiday Inn review"

1 night Arrived 19 Feb 2008
"At the time of our visit the hotel was full of George Bush's humourless service personnel so probably not very fair to pass comment.

It had all the right things for a Holiday Inn and the doormen had very colourful uniforms.

It is handily placed next door to the offices of Kearsley Travel so you should not have any worries finding your airport transfer driver. The hotel is a short walk to the shore which is quite pleasant and good for a final view of dimorphic egrets and various gulls and terns."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Average
Rooms
Good
Food
Good

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