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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Ms M & Ms SP from Canada

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

3

Lodges stayed in

6

Excursions taken

0

My June 2018 trip

Botswana and 2 other countries between 4 Jun 2018 and 2 Jul 2018

Trip rating: Excellent
"A trip of a lifetime. We had a tremendous time from the moment we landed in Johannesburg till the moment we left Cape Town. We do encourage people to visit Johannesburg and we stayed at the Monarch Hotel which was very conveniently located close to the train to the airport, close to the mall and also to restaurants. The people we met were nearly all helpful and kind and we felt that our trip added rather than took from the places we visited. Everything was taken care of other than a couple of things.

All the connections worked out but I would strongly recommend you including in the itineary the addresses of locations after a flight. The flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town did not include Jeanne's bag. We spent quite a lot of time waiting and then talking to the lost baggage people about this. They found the bag in Johannesburg and wanted an address to deliver it to us when it arrived. We didn't have the Acorn House address and they didn't have access to the internet or a phone and nor did I. All I could think of was to go to the driver and find out from him. I made the fatal error of leaving the arrivals area to talk to him and then trying to go back to tell the baggage people what the address was. That caused a real problem and I had go through a ridiculous process to get back to Jeanne even though five people watched me walk out of the arrivals area and refused to let me back without special authorization and being escorted through security.. Please include the address in your documentation.

Under the category of things I wished I'd known was the fact that both lodges in the Delta were open to the elements and quite cold at night. We had been warned by our friends it would be cold in the Etosha area, but didn't think there would be the same issue in Botswana. We adapted, by showering when it was warm out and wearing our warmest clothes to bed but it was a surprise."

Arranged By Maruska Adye-Rowe


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Ultimate Namibia Journey

"Ultimate Namibia review"

11 nights Arrived 4 Jun 2018
"Ultimate Namibia was an excellent experience with an excellent tour guide, Tim. I was so impressed with how hard he worked and still managed to be kind and thoughtful at the end of the day. I was also impressed by how clean the windows on the truck always were and then I found out that he cleaned them every morning! Wow! His enthusiasm for all the wild life was infectious and he gave me a good foundation for our later adventures in Victoria Falls and Botswana.

Accommodation - some comments you might find helpful.
The accommodation in Windhoek, Galton House, was not great. The beds were so hard I had difficulty sleeping there both times I stayed. We had a very prickly bush outside our room the first night, which the manager warned us about but when we suggested it be moved to a less dangerous spot, he told us this was a dangerous country! It was our first and only experience of staying behind such high security and it was quite a shock. Would have loved to have stayed somewhere closer to downtown where we could have walked around a bit. By the time we got back, I found I had difficulty with the rich bread in most places and found the gluten-free option more to my liking. I was so surprised that they did not have gluten-free bread right in Windhoek when all the other accommodations made it available. They offered me something that appeared to be hard tack that I couldn't bite into.

Safarihoek was the most luxurious place we stayed and was a tease because we got there as the sun was setting and left as it was rising and we were exhausted after a very long day. Maybe a more basic camp who could have served us quicker for both the meals we had there? Waiting an hour for our meal after a long day and watching everyone who arrived after us get served before us really took the glow off what was a lovely place.

TreeTops - I would have liked a larger lodge. It felt a bit odd with just the six of us and Tim off in another location. It was also a shock how cold it got with the front of the room open to the waterhole. I would have enjoyed looking at the waterhole through glass just as much and hot water bottles would have also helped! Our friends did warn us about the cold but suggested we wouldn't experience it like them because they were camping. I think we had the full experience!

Kipwe was fabulous and I was sorry to leave the place.

Sossus Dune was so well placed to enjoy sun rise and sun set.

AfriCats activity was disappointing. We were driven to see the rescue cheetahs in a vehicle with no shade at mid-day. It was very uncomfortable and as we looked at the cheetahs dozing in the shade we felt very envious. The guide didn't provide much information we didn't already have and he played with us about looking for them so we were even longer in the sun than necessary. Maybe it's winter to them but it's still full sun at mid-day for us northerners."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Ilala Lodge

Ilala Lodge

"Ilala Lodge Review"

2 nights Arrived 15 Jun 2018
"Ilala was lovely, well located and a highlight of the tour.

They even gave us a coupon for dinner on the first night which was a nice surprise.

Lovely memories of Vic Falls."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Muchenje Safari Lodge

Muchenje Safari Lodge

"Muchenje Safari Lodge"

2 nights Arrived 17 Jun 2018
"Great place to stay and we enjoyed the people we met there very much. They matched us up with another couple for our activities so we got to know them quite well. Wow just 4 people on all the game drives. It was great. Loved how many animals we got to see in the Chobe area. Realized how many we had seen in Namibia but not the same quantities. Guide was good and very happy with our experience. Would recommend a 3-night stay here so you have a chance to relax more. We played hookey on the last day just to relax a bit.

One of the managers wished she had known Jeanne was having a problem with her leg because we ended up getting the furthest cabin when she could have given us the closest one. She took it upon herself to contact the other two camps so they would be aware of the knee problem.

I was puzzled by a reference to the benefit of Muchenje being as far west as it was because of early access to the river for our river excursion. We drove all the way back to Kasana to get on the boat and then drove all the way back again to get back to the lodge. We also had quite a drive to get into the reserve every game drive and it felt a bit repetitive after a while.

I wished I had got your request for number of wild life sightings before we left. I didn't even think to pay attention to how many sightings there were."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Okuti

Okuti

"Okuti Review"

3 nights Arrived 19 Jun 2018
"I left a piece of my heart in Okuti. The staff were amazing, friendly, helpful. They sang to us before every dinner and one evening invited me to dance with them. It made me forget about how cold the room was because of being open to the elements! Newly awakened love for hot water bottles. And the quantity of animals was amazing.

One odd thing happened which didn't fit with the rest of my experience there. On the third day when we got to the safari vehicle for the morning drive, we noticed the tops had been taken off all the vehicles. Given our experience at AfriCats we knew this would be a problem and asked for the top to be put back on. Our guide was clearly in a bind. He had not agreed with the decision but had been ignored. So Jeanne went to one of the managers and asked for the top to go on and he said of course and made it happen. This took time out of our drive and left us puzzled about why we weren't asked about something like that. It was the same day the manager returned from leave so I assumed it was his decision.

There was also an issue with elephants seeming stressed out with our presence. We asked to move on when the elephant was bellowing and being protective of their young. We asked to move on and get out of their space. The guide ignored us until we got really insistent. We heard later that this area had been a hunting lodge previously and maybe the elephants remembered."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Splash Camp

Splash Camp

"Splash Camp"

3 nights Arrived 22 Jun 2018
"I have mixed feelings about Splash. We got our closest sightings on lions and leopards. The tracker really made a difference in finding the animals quickly. But we had been spoiled with 4 person drives in the previous two places and 6 felt a bit too many. We clicked with our first 6 but not so much with the later group. I think the place has some teething problems. They tried with the singing before dinner but they need quite a bit more practice.

I didn't enjoy the food as well: I had to be vigilant about my food issues because the servers didn't seem to be aware unlike everywhere else. It was the first time there was much talk about Trump and one of the guests seemed to enjoy being a contrarian. The night drives were just a late return from the afternoon drive but we didn't see anything on either of the two I did (I didn't bother with the third one because it was a late return for no good reason). Our guide complained to us a bit about the tracker keeping the light too high to see anything but he didn't say anything to the tracker. He also told us the grass was too high to see any of the smaller night animals. I suggest they not do night drives if the conditions don't make sense.

We also found out the last day there was a boat option and a walking safari option but they weren't offered to us until the last moment. I suspect there was a work/customer distribution problem and trying to maximize number of people per vehicle. As I say teething problems. We had already had 3 boat trips by this point (one from Okuti to Splash) so we didn't need another one but I had been hoping for a walking safari the whole time in Botswana. They seem to want their guides to do everything from walking people to and from cabins to hot water bottles to helping with transport concerns as well as guiding. I think our guide was exhausted.

I also was disappointed that there were no internet opportunities here. When I asked one manager about being able to check in for my flights he said they could phone that through for me. Another manager said it wasn't necessary. As it happened, I wasn't able to check in in Maun for my connecting flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town and we very nearly missed the flight to Cape Town. If I had been able to check in, this would have been handled in a timely way.

Finally, our safari vehicle had a battery problem on Day 2 and needed a boost. But the same thing happened the next day and while we were right next to the leopard family. There was another truck but they drove off and I got nervous. I asked our driver and he made a joke about us being there all day. Then the other truck appeared again. Not a good time for a joke and don't they know that once a battery goes flat you need to replace it?

They didn't seem interested in real feedback. We were all strongly encouraged to sign the guest book but that's not really a place for this kind of feedback."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Average
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Facilities
Good
Acorn House

Acorn House

"Acorn House"

4 nights Arrived 25 Jun 2018
"Nice people, very helpful and wanting us to have a good time in Cape Town.

Also great help with our first time using Uber. We had a lovely suite on the ground floor with access to the patio. What a lovely end to the trip. And no security fences Yeah!

Also liked the deli across the road. It became a little home from home."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent

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