This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Skip to main content

Talk to an expert 1-800-242-2434 Lines open now

User menu

Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr F from Amsterdam

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

3

Countries visited

3

Lodges stayed in

10

Excursions taken

0

Kenya May 2022

Kenya between 29 May 2022 and 15 Jun 2022

Trip rating: Excellent
"Another well organized trip by Expert Africa, initiated by Olivia and completed by Lyndsey. Communication was always swift and to the point via email.

We visited the Samburu region, Amboseli and the Maasai Mara, giving us a caleidoscopical overview of Kenya. Initially a bit weary of possible crowds and an all too touristy experience we were pleasantly surprised how well this combination of areas and camps worked out. The only mass experience was on our transfer from Amboseli to the Mara via Nairobi-Wilson. In hindsight we would have preferred a direct flight on Mombassa Air Safari or possibly a charter; we were totally spoiled by the lovely direct charter flight from Sarara to Tortilis Camp…😉"

Arranged By Lyndsey Marris


Sarara

Sarara

"Sarara, a hidden gem"

5 nights Arrived 31 May 2022
"We loved Sarara, this is such a special camp in such a remote location, glad we stayed for 5 nights to really get connected to the place. Very special to be flown in by the founder of Sarara in his private Cessna: while flying lowlevel over the spectacular landscape he introduced us to the area and his philosophy behind starting it all. The staffmembers are all very kind, a bit shy in the beginning (some reviewers interpreted this as formal) but once we knew them a bit better we had great laughs with all of them.

Newly appointed camp managers Emma and Darren create a homely atmosphere and are very approachable. The rooms are spacious and especially the terraces with spectacular views out into the valley, we could sit there for hours just gazing into the distance. We were lucky enough to have spotted a leopard while driving back to camp after sundowners on the first night, otherwise the wildlife is not overwhelming. Lots of giraffes for sure and elephants visting the camps’s waterhole, gerenuks and an interesting hyena family with 4 pups.

But wildlife is not the reason to travel all the way to Sarara. Samburu culture and their way of life in this harsh environment is what it’s about. Our guide James gave us a real insight into his culture, we had lovely conversations about many things and the Samburu view on it. Visting the singing wells and a local settlement were humbling and moving experiences. Also the visit to Reteti Elephant Rescue was very special and worth the bumpy ride. Very touching to see how the community committed themselves to this cause and how everyone places a role in it.

Sarara is not a cheap camp by any means but a large proportion of the rate flows directly back into the community supporting people and wildlife and their coexistence. If your are not looking for glitzy 5 star service and broadband wifi, but want to experience a real connection with people and their land, we highly recommend Sarara Camp."
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Tortilis Camp

Tortilis Camp

"Tortilis Camp, busy but well managed."

4 nights Arrived 5 Jun 2022
"Tortilis Camp is a busy operation with an apparent focus on American package tourists, so people moving in and out all the time. After our stay at Sarara Camp this felt a bit overwhelming, however camp managers Candy and Graeme do a great job in maintaining a personal touch to it all. They are very visible and always in for a chat. Also the concept of having the same waiter during the entire stay works really well to maintain that personal touch. Our waiter Eunice was very kind and caring, nice to have a familiar face amongst the ever changing guest population. Our guide John was relatively new, just 4 months in camp, but very kind and knowledgeable; there wasn’t a bird he didn’t know about.
Having access to the Kitirua conservancy is a great advantage here, we had the best elephant interactions in this section, whereas in the national park it was often a remote observation. Some activities felt a bit regimental, like the bush breakfast and the sundowner only on the last night, but I guess this is the only way to streamline the operation.
We stayed in the Private House, located at the same level as the main lodge on the hill, so no descending and climbing to the tent 4 times a day.
The house itself is very spacious with 2 cavernous bedrooms, furniture and decorations maybe a bit bland. The brochure pictures the private house with a manicured lawn where one could have breakfast or drinks served: in reality just a small rim of grass and much more scrubby bushes, the breakfast option was never mentioned.
The neigbouring Family Tent has a much more appealing setting under a mature acacia tree and a beautiful porch, that would be my choice in the future.
The main advantage of the Private House (and Family Tent) is having access to a private use vehicle and guide, making it a much more personal experience. Also having your own pool, shared with the family tent, is a nice bonus. Finally we must mention the excellent quality of the meals, a buffet for breakfast and lunch and a 3 course dinner menu with 2 options for every course. Tortilis Camp is a good place to stay when in Amboseli."
Good
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Good

Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Mara Plains Camp

Mara Plains Camp

"Mara Plains Camp, home away from home"

5 nights Arrived 9 Jun 2022
"Arriving at Mara Plains camp felt like coming home after having stayed at Zarafa Camp in Botswana last year. It’s all about elegance, understated luxury, attention to detail, a calm and soothing environment, the Great Plains hallmarks.
Camp manager Stella and her assistants Siimoi and Jefferson are always there to welcome you back from a gamedrive or a chat during the day and no request was too difficult for them.
Tents are very spacious and comfortable, with lots of little details. As the water is pumped from a borehole the piping hot shower water has a distinct smell to it, needing a moment to get used to. Some tents are in a shady location facing the river, others face the plains where you may see an occasional pedestrian or motorcycle pass by: the conservancy land is owned by local people and they travel to/from their villages.
Our guide Kevin has an intimate knowledge of the area as he and his family own part of the conservancy land, the plains East of camp bear his family name.
Because of his excellent spotting skills and animal behavioural knowledge we had 4 leopard sightings, other guests called us the leopard magnets for which all credit goes to Kevin of course!
We gained a detailed understanding of the conservancy and the Masaai Mara ecosystem thanks to Kevin and couldn’t have wished for a better guide. Each and every gamedrive had an often unexpected highlight: waiting an hour in the pouring rain for a leopard to wake up in the evening, about to give up and drive home and still finding it, or witnessing the birth of a buffalo calf, or following a cheetah mother with 3 cubs through the landscape, seeing them swim/jump across a river, climbing a tree and finally mounting a termite hill: all magical moments.
Food is of a very high standard, not about quantity but quality. Wonderful bush breakfasts, at one time they even had the chef drive into the bush with an egg cooking station, maybe a bit over the top!? We could pick our preferred bottle of wine each night for sundowners and dinner, a very good selection of mostly South African wines, maybe a good idea to invest a bit more in staff training as no one had real detailed knowledge of wine it appeared. My personal highlights of the meals were the desserts, surprising combinations of sweet and hearty elements; pastry chef Jöel would come to our table each time to explain his creation with a big smile on his face, a very nice person indeed.
After 5 nights at Mara Plains we were not ready to go home at all as we felt completely rested and in balance.
Not having visited any other camps in the Mara area it is difficult to put Mara Plains camp into perspective but we could hardly imagine a better place to stay."
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

My May 2021 trip

Botswana between 14 May 2021 and 29 May 2021

Trip rating: Excellent
"An impressive journey in a strange period of time. Lots of hurdles to take, endless paperwork and testing but very worth it in the end.

The Botswana people were very happy to welcome us and thanked us multiple times for taking the effort to come to their country in these complicated times.

Once there everything ran smoothly; a well organized trip and a great combination of camps giving a complete picture of Botswana."

Arranged By Tracy Lederer


Jack's Camp

Jack's Camp

"Jack's Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 15 May 2021
"Overall a good stay in a stunning location with excellent guiding and food. Our guide Villa was a very kind person with very extensive knowledge.

The concept here feels a bit formulaic though with limited flexibility to change the schedule. When we indicated that we did not want to do the quadbiking (communicated to the camp already long before our arrival by our travel agent) an alternate guide had to be arranged at last minute to accommodate our vehicle companions so that we could do a regular game drive instead.

Also one can question if the latest renovation has changed it into a better camp. The tents are now humongous and feel cavernous with very limited lighting. Although the design is very consistent 1940’s in all the details, a sense of intimacy is definitely missing and with the limited time one actually spends in the tent the space feels wasted.

Another peculiarity was the fact that the mess tent has no public toilets other than those at the main swimming pool, requiring an escorted 5 minute walk after dark; not very convenient during dinner.

Despite these observations overall all camp employees did their very best to accommodate every guests’s needs and the service level was very high."
Good
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Good

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Tau Pan Camp

Tau Pan Camp

"Tau Pan Camp review"

3 nights Arrived 17 May 2021
"A hidden gem in a very impressive environment. Honest and kind people making us feel at home. Good guiding and food.

Not the most impressive in terms of wildlife sightings but a great sense of disconnection in such a remote part of Botswana, the Kalahari is truly overwhelming. Lucky though to see the rare brown hyena on two occasions and the day trip to Deception Valley gave a real sense of the vastness of the area.

The family style dinners with the guide and camp manager felt really intimate, a vast contrast with our previous camp (Jack’s)."
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Duba Explorers Camp

Duba Explorers Camp

"Duba Explorers Camp review"

4 nights Arrived 20 May 2021
"Overall the most satisfying camp of our trip. Great tents, excellent food, very knowledgeable guides and good wildlife sightings. A spectacular arrival and departure by helicopter to the otherwise inaccessible Omdop airstrip as the Vumbura airstrip was closed due to flooding.

Our guide Isaac is a true gentleman, kind and caring, with very extensive knowledge, using in vehicle guidebooks to illustrate certain wildlife sightings, always positioning the vehicle for the best photography light. His trainee KG is lucky to have him as a mentor. The highlight wasn’t the numbers of wildlife but the upclose encounters: we followed a leopard for 1,5 hours and a lion for over an 1 hour, gaining a real insight in their behavior instead of just a snapshot photo moment.

The water activities, mekoro and boat trip, were a welcome diversion from the gamedrives. Camp managers Anastasia and Teddy were always there to send us off or welcome us back and always in for a good conversation at the campfire, we felt taken care of. A minor detail: apparently the forms we filled out at home and were sent by email did not come through as we had to redo everything on arrival."
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Zarafa Camp

Zarafa Camp

"Zarafa Camp review"

4 nights Arrived 24 May 2021
"What an amazing camp. The wildlife sightings were slightly disappointing as the grasses were still very tall as a result of abundant summer rainfall. After 3 rather fruitless gamedrives a good talk with the guide and camp manager resulted in a different approach more focussing on a relaxing stay and taking pressure of the guide. Sure enough the ensuing walking safari, expected to be an just an educational walk, resulted in a classic sighting scenario: baboons calling, impalas fleeing, giraffes running followed by three lionesses scouting the area: priceless.

Zarafa has a real homey feel to it, small scale, ultra comfortable, excellent service. Camp managers Alexandra and Ron made us feel like staying at their private residence, more like B&B owners than managers. Always in for a chat, always there to see us off and welcome us back. The strong point of Zarafa is the ability to totally personalize your stay, hang out with fellow guests or do everything in your own space. We could pick our favorite wines from the extensive cellar and Ron even organized a winetasting for us.

Their commitment to guests was truly above and beyond. We were very sad to leave Zarafa and found it the perfect end to a remarkable journey through Botswana."
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

Namib Desert, May 2018

Namibia between 21 May 2018 and 28 May 2018

Trip rating: Excellent
"Well organized trip; it was easy to communicate with our agent Josh when it was bit hard at first to find the right accommodation in the desired sequence due to non availability at some lodges, but Josh came up with a great alternative that exceeded our expectations while staying there.

Once in Namibia everything went smoothly and we enjoyed our stays at Desert Homestead Outpost, Wolwedans Dunes Lodge and the Strand Hotel very much."

Desert Homestead Outpost

Desert Homestead Outpost

"Desert Homestead Outpost, Superior Unit stay"

2 nights Arrived 22 May 2018
"Wonderful stay in the Superior Unit: spacious, very private, felt like our own desert palace, at quite a distance from the main lodge however.

We choose the all in package which included all meals and drinks and two private excursions: a sundowner and a day tour to Sossusvlei.

Our guide Simon did an excellent job on both occasions and shared a wealth of knowledge about life in the dessert, showing us little details about plants and animals that really make you understand how special this area is."
Good
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Good

Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Wolwedans Desert Lodge

Wolwedans Desert Lodge

"Wolwedans Dunes Lodge"

3 nights Arrived 24 May 2018
"What a special place and spectacular setting. The silence of the desert is overwhelming. The room makes you really connect with the surroundings, we left some of the canvas walls open during the night to catch the fresh breeze. It's not about top luxury here, to some the rooms may feel a bit too rustic for that, but it's all about being part of a landscape.

We were a bit spoiled by the excellent guiding at Desert Homestead Outpost where we already learnt a lot about desert life, so the excursions at Wolwedans did not add so much in terms of new information. But we still enjoyed driving through the breathtaking landscape and the kindness and hospitality of our guide Jason.

The communal dining table works well, we had wonderful conversations with fellow guests while enjoying great service and good food. There was always an option for a private table however.

We can easily imagine ourselves going back to Wolwedans in the future, just doing nothing, soaking up the landscape, contemplating, like a retreat."
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Strand Hotel

Strand Hotel

"Strand Hotel"

1 night Arrived 27 May 2018
"Very well run hotel, highly professional staff. We forgot some things in the safe at checkout and this was handled very well: a phone call within an hour, everything taken care of smoothly.

The breakfast was very good, the room clean and comfortable. After spending a week in the Namib Desert it all felt a bit too smooth, but that is very much to the credit of the hotel."
Good
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Good

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good

Login to Expert Africa

Sign in with password

Sign in with email link


New to Expert Africa? Create an account

Forgotten your details?

It's free & quick to set up

  • Order a brochure
  • Save your wish-list
  • Send us an enquiry
  • Pay online for your trip
  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Give us feedback on your trip
  • Full site benefits of the site

Need some help? Talk to our team