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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs A from Highgate

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

2

Lodges stayed in

3

Excursions taken

0

Honeyjune

Zanzibar and 1 other country between 8 Jun 2017 and 19 Jun 2017

Trip rating: Excellent
"We usually book everything on our trips ourselves but as it was our honeymoon, we decided to get some back-up from a travel agent should things go awry.

We chose Expert Africa from two other companies for our safari and beach trip to Tanzania. All the other agents we approached were very knowledgable about Africa, but we felt that Lyndsey at EA was more down-to-earth, friendlier and open to our ideas of what we wanted.

The process of booking the holiday was actually good fun and most importantly we really did have a honeymoon that was memorable for all the right reasons.

Plus, the fact I've spent a good chunk of my day writing up all the feedback on this website must tell you that we thought it was worth telling someone about it! Just don't ask to see the photos, or you'll be here all month ;)"

Arranged By Lyndsey Marris


Impala Camp

Impala Camp

"Magical Selous Impala Camp"

4 nights Arrived 8 Jun 2017
"We stayed at Selous Impala camp for four nights as part of our 2 week honeymoon in Tanzania. After chatting to Lyndsey at Expert Africa, we chose the Selous for our first ever safari as we wanted an experience that was as remote, personal and as special to us as possible. We were not disappointed. The whole trip was magical - bristling with the excitement, surprise, colour, charm, wonder and danger that makes a safari such a unique and treasured experience. Topped off with very good food, glamping style accommodation and staff that couldn't do more for us.

We knew the safari was beginning in earnest, when we touched down on a rutted mud runway in a tiny plane - in the middle of nowhere, and were met by our friendly and unimpeachable guide Gerard. He drove us in the LandCruiser to the camp, where on the way we spotted giraffes, warthogs, impala (of course) and lots more wildlife on the way. We were then warmly welcomed to the camp by very friendly staff - efficiently managed with unflappable Nick - who made sure we were well looked after for the whole trip.

During our time, we went on a numerous drives into more and more remote parts of the park. It's very lush in June and the foliage gives plenty of places for the wildlife to hide - but to us, that's what made it even more fun. We discovered elephants, giraffe, warthogs, impala, waterbucks, eagles, crocodiles, hippos, wildebeest, bush pigs, buffalo, zebras, baboons etc in good numbers. In terms of 'big cats', we didn't catch sight of anything more than a leopard's pawprints - or see a lion, but as daft as it sounds, when we spotted a rare African civet and a hyena, we almost jumped out of the jeep with excitement, as they came out of nowhere.

We'd definitely recommend doing a boat trip as you see a different side of the bush altogether and the river runs alongside the camp. Some very large crocodiles, hundreds of beautiful birds, hippos close up (whilst keeping a safe distance!) and other wildlife that comes down to the water. Also recommend doing a bush-walk as it really connects you with the environment and let's face it - it's a bit scary and exciting to walk through the bush with your guide, an armed masai and a gun-toting ranger when there's a dozen different ways for you to get eaten all around you.

Accommodation was just the right side of luxury for us. It was a large zip-up canvas tent/lodge which had beautiful dark-wood furniture inside. In the middle of the night, a hippo (who'll remain nameless) would brush the tent as it came back from its night feeding and plunged snorting into the river which run past the tent - which surprisingly you got used to pretty quickly.

Food was excellent. Hopefully we're not being patronising - but it was extraordinary what the chef could get conjure up and there was real flair in the fare. They even gave us a recipe at the end for a steak marinade because we said we enjoyed it so much. Service was also great - with Victor our waiter always full of smiles, laughter and creativity.

What else... stunning stars at night (discovering the Milky Way isn't just a chocolate bar.) Romantic candlelit dinner with a crocodile watching over you. Babbling bush babies burgling bread. Plunge pool to cool off in during the day and a hot shower to wash away the day's dusty endeavours in the night. Plus, all the nice little touches that would spoil the surprise if you knew them. Hopefully you can tell that we enjoyed the trip!

Funnily enough though - for all the thrills of the chase, the adrenalin rush of a charging hippo steaming towards you and the frenetic snapping of the camera shutter to get 'that shot', it was the tranquility of sitting by a beautiful lake at breakfast overlooking a group of monkeys on the beach, in the relaxing company of Gerard our guide that perhaps stays with us as much as anything else. A man, who seemed so utterly at peace with this world that it's no surprise that he'd been working at the Selous for many years, deftly steering people like us through the bush into the very heart of what makes people fall in love with an African safari."
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Emerson Spice

Emerson Spice

"Atmospheric Emerson Spice"

2 nights Arrived 12 Jun 2017
"My wife and I stayed at Emerson Spice for a couple of nights between safari and beach.

It's in the heart of Stonetown, so we had to carry our bags with the taxi driver from the car park at the edge of town (5 mins walk). The market was heaving and there's stray cats, kids chasing balls, scooters and bikes hurtling around the lanes around the hotel - so it might not be to everyone's taste for a relaxing break.

Interior design is stunning. Almost every room is like a film set and almost every photo you take could grace an interior design coffee-table book. Our room 'Belle' didn't let the stylist down - as it had an ornate four poster bed with drapes, carefully chosen antique furniture, an open-plan shower/bath in the corner, a first edition old guide to Zanzibar on the table, and imposing wooden shutters that opened out onto a balcony that was capped with a love-swing (at least I think that's what it's called...).

The room looked out onto the street corner - so you could see and hear the comings and goings of local life. Although it was Ramadan, when we were there, so we had to close the curtains on the outside of the balcony so nobody could see us drink the complimentary bubbly!

Food-wise, breakfast was delicious both days on the roof terrace and the breakfast waiter was full of smiles. In the evening, we had a tasty seafood dinner in the secret garden - which was an enchanting and romantic spot.

Wi-fi was slow and service was male-dominated with no women in attendance as far as we could see - but we enjoyed our stay and would recommend it for a characterful stay in an equally characterful town."
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Pongwe Beach Hotel

Pongwe Beach Hotel

"Pongwe paradise"

5 nights Arrived 14 Jun 2017
"We stayed at Pongwe Beach Hotel as part of our 2 week honeymoon in Tanzania. We chose it because we wanted somewhere that was remote, romantic, high quality without being too flash and we were delighted with our choice.

It's set on a virtually private powder-white sand beach to the east of the island. It takes around 45 mins from Stone-Town by car - and you pass through villages - many with mud-huts on the way.

Unlike some other beach resorts around the world - we were pleasantly surprised by the lack of rubbish. The team clean it every morning at sunrise to reveal the talcum powder white sands and shallow clear blue water - which was usually safe to swim in, although there was the occasional spiky sea urchin to watch out for.

The infinity pool was bliss and sitting by it and looking out from it, as it merges with the cobalt sea in the near-distance is something you never tire of.

We went out in kayaks and had a go at paddle-boarding. Equipment is a bit tired but perfectly ok for having fun with.

Food was superb. We were half-board, and ate fresh fish and seafood almost every day and night, prepared with panache. Some lunch courses may seem a little pricey at first sight but portions are massive and of excellent quality, so one dish between two with snacks was plenty for us.

The staff also brought fruit or fresh coconut water to you when you were on the beach in the afternoon.

Snorkelling trip, arranged by the hotel with One Ocean out to the Mnemba island reef was well worth it. Sped out in a really good quality powerboat with a very well-organised dive team. Reef was still full of fish and colourful coral on the whole - which seems to becoming rarer wherever you go in the world, so highly recommend.

It's not a hive of things to do, so if you're looking for a more active trip then it might not be your thing. It's much more of a sunbathing, chilling, reading a book, chatting to other guests, laying by the pool and unwinding kind of place.

Service was excellent. Very friendly and witty staff, who worked hard all day and night with smiles on their faces. Credit to them all.

Wi-fi was more hit than miss, but then who wants to spend all day looking at your phone when you have a view across the Indian Ocean like this to enjoy!"
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

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

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