Travel reviews by Ms A & Mr M from Lagos
Total number of trips
Lodges stayed in
Another superb trip..
Malawi between 17 Aug 2018 and 26 Aug 2018
Many thanks as always for the organisation and recommendations that have made our trips so memorable and special. We look forward to the preparations for our next one.
Sincerely, Anna & Malcolm
Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:
Pack me in one of your suitcases please.....😊
Its always a pleasure dealing with the staff of Expert Africa!"
"Stunning Location with wonderful hosts.."
"As life should be...."
Allie and Ollie were perfect hosts and eager to offer guests the idyllic stay that the location inspires. They very generously upgraded our stay to a premium room, Mbamba with stunning views and our own plunge pool and private area. The room was spacious, beautifully decorated with a fridge and open bathroom. We felt the room to be well equipped with everything provided including wraps and sun hats which is excellent considering the restricted luggage allowance if arriving by small aircraft.
The accommodation is arranged amongst the rocks and therefore very private. Anybody with mobility issues would be wise to study room options and request accordingly. The ambiance was so very calm, private and unobtrusive. It is not necessary to socialise with others if that is your preference. Power can be sporadic at Kaya Mawa but that goes with the location, and my understanding is that steps are underway to secure a more stable and reliable supply.
The staff and community are an integral part of the success of Kaya Mawa and it is encouraging to see the combination, coordination and mutual appreciation and encouragement.
The food was superb and we did not eat a bad meal during our stay. Dinner was served on the beach and sundowners could be enjoyed either in your room or at the communal area, and tea and coffee were bought to your room at your requested time the following morning. Drinks were charged for and not expensive in our opinion given the location and there was a varied range and wine list.
Sundowners I believe can also be enjoyed at the nearby wonderful viewpoint with views over Mozambique and the surrounding area.
Non motorised activities were included in our rate and other excursion options available. We elected to take quad bikes with guide to explore the Island and the Cathedral and this was a great morning. We thoroughly enjoyed this experience. There is also a resident diving instructor on the premises.
The Island was also easy and safe to explore on foot and we enjoyed a walk to visit Mango Drift for a lunchtime drink with a stop at the Katundu workshop en-route. There is also a shop at the lodge selling lovely items made at the workshop. The decor in the rooms is also a great showcase for their work. Items can be shipped if unable to be carried.
There is a spa service with facials, massages and a selection of other treatments. We did not utilise this so cannot comment.
Connection permitting there is limited wi-fi available in the office area and tips can be left in a tip box in the office to be distributed to lodge staff by an elected committee.
The ambiance at Kaya Mawa is as you imagine: relaxed, calm, welcoming and truly special and we wish the management and staff continued success. The lodge is exactly as the photographs suggest and it would be hard to be disappointed in your stay.
We experienced quite a lengthly re-scheduling of our Ulendo flight on departure which Allie very kindly helped to ease by permitting us to use our room until lunchtime and offering us some complimentary services. This was greatly appreciated.
Thank you for a special and memorable few days."
"Great option before homeward flight..."
Our Ulendo departure from Likoma was re-scheduled by close to five hours and on arrival in Lilongwe there was no driver available to meet us for our transfer. I had spoken with Expert Africa the previous day when our flight was changed and asked them to advise the hotel accordingly, however it seems that this information was either not received or acted upon by the hotel, therefore if this scenario should occur for any future guests I would suggest a call rather than advice by email.
The Ulendo representative called on our behalf and the hotel advised that they had sent a driver in the morning as scheduled but when we failed to arrive he apparently, or clearly nobody tried to find out our whereabouts. Finally another driver was arranged and that same person collected us the following morning and we paid him separately to give us a quick tour around Lilongwe as we had been planning to do that the previous afternoon. Since the transfer was included in our rate I requested reception to sort out the details with the driver.
Once we arrived at the hotel we enjoyed our stay, however upon check in we were asked to pay for our room so I had to produce the paperwork to show that it was already covered. It is fair to say that upon check in and check out the reception staff seemed very vague and inexperienced. We were honest on check out and pointed out that they had not included our dinner charge on the bill although I assume this would have caught up with us eventually.
We quite liked the double level industrial stylish accommodation, however having an open staircase would not be ideal if children were staying. The kitchen are was well equipped however the lighting was rather dark and the bathroom shower design prone to flooding. Wi-fi was available in all areas via a complimentary voucher code given at check in.
The communal areas were lovely especially the pool and there was an excellent, large very well equipped gym which we did not use. The property seemed to be a haven for NGO and similar workers as well as seemingly better off outsiders and we enjoyed the vibe. The decor was primarily from the Katundu workshop on Likoma Island and the we loved the open bar and restaurant area.
We found the waiting staff to be very kind and courteous and the food we ate at both dinner and breakfast was excellent.
We had arrived in the dark and so when we left the following morning the hotel seemed to be located in a pleasant quiet residential and Embassy neighbourhood.
I would suggest that this property is a good option for an overnight stay in Lilongwe."
Rwanda between 13 Jun 2018 and 21 Jun 2018
Rwanda exceeded all of our expectations, obviously gorilla trekking was a highlight but all other aspects equally as enjoyable.
Rwanda especially was so green, agricultural, wildlife, stunning scenery, clean with kind and gentle people and on the surface full of progress and opportunity after a period of sad history.
It would be our pleasure to return to explore further.
The concept of the East African visa for multiple entry travel to Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya available on arrival in Kigali for a fee of US $100 to holders of a British passport among others is excellent and very convenient.
The service of Primate Safari's and Sura our guide/driver were without fault, from being greeted at the airport on arrival to being dropped off at departure.
Sabina last year and Amanda this year went out of their way to offer their suggestions, experiences and recommendations and tailor itineraries as needed.
It is their personal involvement, enthusiasm and experience which enable them to offer a superior product.
Africa can be a challenging and expensive Continent to travel in but the knowledge and cohesiveness of the Expert Africa team and their local vendors makes the entire experience so special and worthwhile.
They are a credit to their organisation and we have no hesitation in using them repeatedly or recommending to other people.
Many thanks for another superb and memorable trip! We wish you continued success.
Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:
At present nothing that we can think of... a pleasure to deal with."
Arranged By Amanda Bond
Hotel des Mille Collines
"Good base for our needs in Kigali.."
There was a security screening machine at the hotel entrance, not uncommon in Africa and the lobby level appeared quite contemporary and modern, but I think its fair to say that the rooms (certainly ours on both stays) are looking quite tired and very much decorated in an older basic style, however we had everything we needed - air conditioning, kettle, tea & coffee, a working fridge, hairdryer, bathroom basics and the room was spotlessly clean and housekeeping very good.
I do think its rather a shame that chairs and a small table are not present on the balcony as it was nice to be outside looking at the beautiful view.
For both stays we were allocated rooms on the 2nd floor with pool views and were not unduly affected by any noise.
Wi-fi throughout the hotel was poor with limited and unstable connectivity. This was the case during both of our stays but I don't know if its normal, but if there is a necessity to comprehensively respond to any potential work emails or similar this may prove challenging.
There is a nice selection of art work displayed around the hotel which is available for purchase via a local gallery.
Breakfast was served on the outside terrace and was perfectly acceptable with an egg station and the usual fruit and cold buffet selections.
We did eat at the pool bar and felt the food was fine and had no issue with the service, however the overall service at breakfast was somehow not quite as streamlined.
The Legacy Lounge appeared to be closed during our stay. I am not sure if this is permanent or perhaps being refurbished?
The pool area is nice, but again the pool could use a maintenance/re -paint upgrade. There were tennis courts and I believe access to a gym but we did not use either of these facilities so cannot offer comment.
There is a massage area located by the pool and I enjoyed an hours reflexology which I personally thought was good and the therapist professional and not unreasonably priced for a hotel.
The gardens and landscaping were beautiful and to the side in the car park there is a poignant memorial to staff members lost during the genocide.
There may well be more modern hotel options in Kigali but Mille Collines has some historical character and was in a nice location for our needs.
We elected to extend our stay in Kigali by two nights and for ease simply opted to remain at Milles Collines. Perhaps with more time to investigate it might have been nice to have tried another option, bur reception offered us a rate that was acceptable and we did not feel the need to pack and relocate elsewhere.
During our additional two evenings there was entertainment at the pool bar, a band one night and a cultural group the other and both were very pleasant and added to the atmosphere around the bar/lawn area. This entertainment if I remember correctly was from about 7.00 - 10.00pm.
We personally found all staff during our stays were courteous and professional. There were one or two waiters at the bar whose English and understanding just required a little more patience and and orders repeating and clarifying, but the staff were so delightful and willing to please that this was not an inconvenience or annoyance.
Should we visit Kigali again we would most likely look to try an alternative property but that would simply be out of interest and not because there was anything fundamentally wrong with Mille Collines."
"Beautiful lakeside location, stunning views.."
The cabins are located on a hillside and we were allocated one of the higher view ones. The setting is beautiful with peaceful views across the lake and a large balcony from which to enjoy them.
When we visited there seemed to be quite a lot of construction of new hotels and guest houses ongoing, one of which was almost opposite (around the lakeside) to Cormoran Lodge. This slightly spoilt our idyllic view and there was building noise, but this I suppose is the price of progress and increased visitors and demand.
Personally we found our cabin very comfortable and spacious. Granted there were a few things that might be helpful additions like bedside tables, but this is just an observation and far from a criticism.
Housekeeping I think was so-so, nothing fundamentally wrong, just things like no soap, toilet tissue & water not replaced but these simply required a mention at reception and they were quickly rectified.
The safe in our room did not work and when we brought this to the managers attention he can gave us a manual key to use.
Bed had a mosquito net, room had a kettle, tea & coffee, working fridge, television with a few channels (one I think in English), wi-fi was available and one of the better connections we experienced on our trip.
The gardens and bird life are stunning, but the property is very steep and care has to be taken especially either after rain or when the gardener has been watering as the pathway tiles can be slippery.
If mobility is a concern perhaps a request for one of the lower closer cabins to the main building can be suggested.
We actually went via the car park to the main building as this was easier walking.
I don't recall if there were touches available in the room or if the path was sufficiently lit as we had our own head torches.
The small lakeside beach area with a few loungers was a nice spot for relaxing and enjoying the birds and gardens. I am not sure if a beverage service is offered there but it might be nice for a waiter to wander occasionally if that is not the case.
It was our experience that the Manager that was on duty during our stay and the restaurant staff spoke primarily French and there was a need at times to speak very slowly and carefully to be understood correctly.
When we checked in the Manager seemed quite unclear as to what our package consisted of in terms of fully explaining the concept of full board and the extensive menu. Initially it was not immediately clear to us if we could choose from the entire menu or just partial.
We had to sign for drinks and food at the end of each evening and wise to double check the bill when checking out as they had got some things that were included in the bill to be charged for. I don't think intentional, but suggest people double check to avoid this.
Other reviews have mentioned not the best food and time it takes to be served. Our experience was the opposite in that we thought all the food served to us was excellent and some of the best we ate on our trip especially the fish soup.
Granted it did take a while to be served but we were not in any hurry.
They did ask at lunch for our dinner order but we declined that and simply ordered when we sat down in the evening.
The dining room was especially nice with the central fire lit in the cooler evening temperatures.
Breakfast was a small but adequate selection of cold cereal, cheese, bread and toast with the option of hot eggs and accompaniments.
We were asked by a waiter if we were interested in renting a boat which we politely declined and instead opted for a lovely walk along the lakeside from the lodge.
The night before we were checking out we were asked by the manager if we would like a packed lunch to take with us which we accepted, however apparently a waiter was then supposed to come and ask us what we would like which nobody ever did and so our packed lunch did not appear.
For us it did not really matter as we has not expected to be offered this, if however you have a long journey ahead and might appreciate a packed lunch then better to be specific. Likewise the restaurant staff may want to be reminded about this option for guests checking out.
There is apparently a new Environmental museum in Kibuye which had we had a little more time we understand is worth a visit.
Overall a two night stay was sufficient for us and our expectations were met and we enjoyed the peace and quiet (apart from a bit of construction noise..)
If you happened to live in Kigali Cormoran Lodge would certainly be a nice option for a long weekend."
Hotel des Mille Collines
"Nice option for arrival/pre departure stay.."
We extended our stay in Kigali by two nights and simply extended the booking made for us by Expert Africa as the hotel offered us a reasonable rate and we were disinclined to move hotels again."
Kigali Tour and Genocide Memorial Visit
"Moving Memorial - Great City.."
20 Jun 2018 • All-day excursion
Being able to be independent, walk around without security and enjoy the wide streets, clean City and great coffee and refreshment stops was a pleasure.
Lagos in theory also has a similar concept to the Rwandan "Umuganda" but far less successful.
Our driver/guide Sura from Primate Safari's had driven us around parts of Kigali en route to and from other destinations explaining the history and development plans and rationale for future projects and taking us to specific places that we had asked him to, but the additional two days we spent alone after extending our trip we very much enjoyed.
Since we live in Africa our need to visit markets and things like handicraft projects were not as high on our list of priorities had they been if we had never been to Africa although we did make a few purchases as handicrafts are quite Country specific.
We simply enjoyed being in Kigali and experiencing the City and finding places to sit and watch the World go by...
Our visit to the Genocide Memorial was moving and emotional as one would expect. We thought that it was sympathetically laid out with informative boards and displays.
We particularly noticed and were impressed that the information boards were first and foremost in the local language. We felt this to be a poignant acknowledgement to the Country as a whole, and can only wish them continued healing, progress and opportunity after such a sad part of their history.
We loved the City!
Fantastic Memories - Thank You!
Namibia between 26 Aug 2017 and 17 Sep 2017
We had corresponded with Sabina for some months before finally and very late confirming an itinerary. This was due to our schedule and various decisions that we were waiting on before being able to commit, therefore our itinerary was amended multiple times due to availability of lodges and car hire.
We have no complaints at all with the service of Sabina and Expert Africa, and have no hesitation in recommending or in using Expert Africa again to book a trip.
We encountered no problems with our reservations, paperwork or logistics and felt the coordination with Wilderness Safari,s was exceptional.
The recommendation of the Sandwich Harbour trip with Turnstone Tours was superb and one of the highlights of our trip. Highly recommended for other travellers.
We live in Nigeria so the ability to drive ourselves in an African Country was fantastic and we throughly enjoyed Namibia, the scenery, the accommodations and warmth of the people.
I have written fairly extensive reviews of our various experiences and sincerely hope that these are taken in the constructive manner that they are intended and not as direct criticisms.
We have lived in numerous Countries, some more challenging than others and are well aware of the often difficult balance of customer expectations, staff training and the logistics of the environment.
On a side note I became unwell towards the last two days of our trip, thankfully when back in Windhoek, and from our point of view when we were still in Namibia and not back in Lagos where we live as this would have necessitated medical evacuation.
On the day of our departure I was admitted to MediClinic in Windhoek and that afternoon underwent emergency surgery for acute appendicitis. After four days in hospital I joined my husband at The Hilton and after a further check the following Saturday with the surgeon (the thoroughly lovely Manoj Kamble) we flew later that day.
I can only add that my medical emergency did nothing to dampen our love of Namibia and its people, and I can assure other travellers who may have a concern about an unexpected medical emergency that I received superb first class care from the Hospital, surgeon, nurses and all the medical and administrative and ancillary personnel, and at no point did we feel that I was receiving anything but exceptional care.
As I was admitted on a Sunday there were some administrative issues with contacting our Insurance Company (International SOS) so we opted to pay and claim which was not a problem for us as we are very familiar with our insurance and know this option to be fine, however it is fair here to note that an unexpected hospital stay can be costly and so therefore some sort of insurance provision is mandatory.
At this point I would like to add that Bidvest car rental were very cooperative with our unexpected circumstances when my husband went to return our rental car on the appropriate day, and with finding us another suitable small vehicle for local use.
We had some issues with changing our flight with SAA but this was more to do with the SAA staff who were uncertain how to manage our changes. This was resolved eventually but had we needed to we would have contacted Expert Africa/Wilderness Safari for assistance.
Whilst you obviously did not request feedback for the Hilton Hotel I will add that my husband stayed there seven nights and me for two as a result of my hospital stay. It was well located with all the standard facilities and amenities that you would expect from The Hilton chain. Room service was good and they had a fantastic roof top bar which I managed to enjoy before we left.
My husband became very familiar with Windhoek during our unexpected extended stay to the point where his beer was poured for him without asking on arrival at the bar at Joe's Beerhouse.
We both sincerely look forward to another visit to Windhoek in the future and hopefully to explore the Caprivi Strip and the Falls,
Many thanks to Sabina and all who helped make our trip very special with wonderful memories.
You are a credit to your organization.
Anna & Malcolm
Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:
None at all - Superb service from our very first enquiry to booking and returning home."
Arranged By Sabina Hekandjo
"Excellent option for first or last night stay"
I will preface my review (as I will for most) by saying that we had a fantastic trip and therefore almost all ratings from us will be excellent, despite any comments and observations I note that might indicate otherwise. They are simply comments that we felt might improve the experience for future guests or be somehow noteworthy. We were in Africa and there are therefore some challenges and allowances have been made for this.
Almost all were excellent in our opinion, some were outstanding and some other small things we feel could enhance the guest experience.
To River Crossing: Beautiful location, warm welcome, stunning deck with superb views for sunset drinks and morning breakfast.
Personally we had no issue at all with the choice or quality of food (both dinner and breakfast), and found all staff that we interacted with to be personable, accommodating, relaxed and comfortable in their work and around guests. Nicely designed communal area with pool.
Rooms were not on a level with some of the more specialist lodges that we stayed in, however our room was clean and everything provided that we needed for a one night stay.
Wi-fi would not connect for us in the room and was sporadic in the main communal areas. There was a television mounted on the wall in the room but no channels seemed to be programmed. This was not an issue for us as we had no interest in watching television, but in such a beautiful location are they really necessary (maybe for the radio channels?).
We would happily revisit."
Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch
"Stunning location, mixed experience"
Whilst we gave this lodge an excellent rating because we very much enjoyed our stay and would return, there were some areas that perhaps could be improved and streamlined.
During check in we felt the staff to be rather detached and very commercially orientated. Whilst its obviously important to be informed of all activities on offer, in fact I had called the previous evening to enquire and had reserved a game drive for that afternoon, we did feel that they were over pushing the sale of their tours of which there were several options.
The lounge and communal areas were lovely, very comfortable and with a well stocked shop. Wi-fi did not connect in our chalet but was useable in the communal areas.
Our game drive that afternoon was just the two of us plus guide and a lady from reception joined us saying that she needed "familiarization". The drive was enjoyable and the guide perfectly pleasant and informative and we saw plenty and enjoyed the scenery. This activity included the cheetah feeding and sundowner.
Dinner was a buffet with the exception of the starter and dessert which was served at the table. Unfortunately it would appear that they vastly underestimated how busy they were. Three roast chickens are insufficient for a dining room full of people.
I had reiterated my dietary requirements upon check in (no red meat) and the waitress confirmed that they had that information noted, however when I went to the buffet to get some chicken I was informed that it was all finished and would not be replaced. We were not eating particularly late, in fact people arrived after us and running out of chicken was unexpected.
There were also two large salad bowls which were almost empty and when I asked for these to be replenished new dishes never appeared, at least during the time that we were at the restaurant. Eventually after I addressed this with the waitress they prepared me a chicken breast with a fresh bowl of salad. This was a shame and I hope just a "one off" as the dining room and setting were beautiful.
The outside bar area was also very nice and comfortable and we enjoyed a pre-dinner drink sitting enjoying the environment. We did not use the pool as we stayed only one night plus there appeared to be some sort of renovation under way around the sides but there was water in the pool.
Later in the evening an Eland was encouraged to come close to the dining area with food laid out for it. Perhaps it is a tame animal and frequent visitor, however I'm not sure how I personally feel about an animal being fed and encouraged to come close to the building for that reason, but that is just my opinion, others were very happy to photograph it. Whilst I know and understand why the cheetahs are in captivity this is another area that I was not especially comfortable with for my own reasons, however we did very much enjoy watching the meerkats.
Unquestionably this is a beautiful ranch amongst the stunning red dunes and perhaps we are being overly critical. We would happily stay there again despite our experience in the dining room.
This was also the only place where we were asked for a tip and that was by the gate man as we were leaving."
Fish River Lodge
This is a beautiful lodge created in a design that is fitting with the landscape. Stunning pool and very welcoming communal area and dining room. The two fires were very welcome given the temperature. Wi-fi was supposedly available for guests in the communal areas but did not work at all during our stay.
Personally we thought all of the food was of a very good quality and selection given their location. I would imagine that ordering and storing takes some creativity. The all day tea and coffee station was appreciated and cakes and fruit in the afternoon. All staff that we interacted with were very pleasant and personable, although in discussion some expressed that it was not an easy place to work at due to the lengthy months before rotating their time off.
Rooms were in keeping with the design and torches were provided for use when necessary. Our torch did not work and nor did the replacement so they may want to consider upgrading those. Flasks for hot water for refreshments in the rooms were provided and replenished in the dining room. When waiting for the shower water to warm buckets are provided to catch the water which is then used by housekeeping.
It was extremely cold and windy during our stay and we felt this in the room. We had warm weather clothing with us but still very much felt the cold not helped by the wind. The information provided in the room stated that both heaters and hot water bottles were available, however when I requested a heater I was advised that they did not have any, however they did provide us with hot water bottles for the bed.
We opted to take the half day drive down to the canyon which included a packed lunch at the bottom. The drive was interesting and rough as expected.
I do think that they could have made more of the lunch spot and packed lunch provided. When we finally reached that area we were simply handed a paper bag of snacks plus a drink of our choice and directed down to where they felt it would be nice to sit. Unfortunately this was not especially clear as the guide had gone ahead but did not really wait to make sure that we were all (four of us) happily and comfortably following and this is where my husband unfortunately slipped and hurt his ankle. This could probably have been avoided if the guide had taken the lunch leaving us both hands to assist with the rocky terrain. Carrying a small pack, plus having both hands occupied was not ideal.
My husband was in quite a lot of pain and on our return to the vehicle the guide removed all the ice from the cool box and put it around his foot and tied with a towel. I do feel that their first aid box should be better equipped with stronger bandages and checked before each trip as the guide seemed surprised that it was not better stocked. Prior to departure from the lodge you are asked to sign a waiver for injury/damage which is fine, but they may want to re-think the way the lunch stop is arranged in order to avoid similar happening to somebody else, and honestly it would have been nice if somebody (or even the guide) had later come to check that all was fine as it should have been noted by the guide. I went to the reception later to see if they had a better bandage but they did not.
This did hamper a few things over the next few days, but thankfully no significant activities were affected during the remainder of our trip. Whilst my husband was resting I did take a short walk along the rim which was nice and easily marked.
Sundowner was good and in a very nice spot but again rather challenging due to the wind.
All in all it was a mixed experience but we are glad that we had the opportunity to experience such a unique lodge and environment."
Wolwedans Desert Lodge
Our one night was an all inclusive package and on arrival we were very warmly greeted by our guide Tabitha who was enthusiastic and anxious to show us all that she could in the short time that we had. She accompanied us to sundowners and also a short drive the following morning before we sadly departed.
They focus heavily on conservation which is understandable and whilst requests like limiting bathing water usage can prove a little frustrating its understandable under the circumstances.
Dinner was a set time and a little later might have allowed for some more relaxing time after sundowners, but again in the location I can understand the ease and practicality of all guests dining at the same time. We were served cold vegetables which we were not expecting given the reviews we had read about their focus on food, but we will forgive them this oversight as the overall experience was wonderful.
Since we did not eat lunch on our day of arrival, they had noted that we would be provided with a packed lunch the following day, but this did not happen and we also forgot to ask, plus we were not driving so far so it was not a hinderance.
It was our wedding anniversary during our trip to Namibia, although not on this particular day, and we were touched by the acknowledgment of the lodge by placing a basket of treats and a card in our room.
Many thanks to all the staff for a superb experience. Wolwedans has created what we feel is a wonderful atmosphere and we felt priviledged to be able to share in it."
Hoodia Desert Lodge
"Loved Hoodia Lodge..."
We did not meet or be introduced to the owners who from other reviews would appear to be very pro-active (which is evident) so perhaps they were absent?
Our arrival coincided with other guests and rather than be asked to wait a young unfortunately rather disinterested and vague employee was summoned to give our introductions and accompany us to our room. He informed us that he had been on duty since early morning and was very tired and about to go home as evidenced by his frequent yawning. This was unfortunate as the rest of the staff encountered during our stay could not have been more different - kind, friendly, efficient and personable.
Our rondavel type room was extremely well equipped. Not huge but with everything needed and practically arranged. Both indoor and outdoor showers, a refrigerator, air conditioning, ample tea, coffee and biscuits and plenty of plug sockets.
There was a small table with two chairs and also a covered outdoor seating area.
The communal areas, lounge and bar were exceptionally well decorated, warm and welcoming, and the dining room and outside patio were also sympathetically designed and located for maximum comfort and relaxing. We did not use the pool due to insufficient time but also nicely located with ample seating. Wi-fi was reasonable in the communal areas.
We thought the food for dinner and breakfast was very good and my dietary requirements were accommodated although the request had apparently not filtered to the kitchen on the first night even though the staff member noted it upon check in, however a perfectly appetizing plate was quickly arranged for me. The permanent tea and coffee station was appreciated and breakfast was also a good selection. We did not eat lunch on the day of arrival but were given a very good and welcome packed lunch on our day of departure.
We had privately pre booked a ballon excursion prior to arrival however this was cancelled due to wind. A shame but unavoidable.
Our stay included a day excursion to Sousselviei. We were six people in total, the two of us and two German couples. We all had a thoroughly enjoyable, but extremely windy day enhanced by our guide whose name I apologize that I cannot recall, but he had a good attitude, interesting conversation and was happy to share his knowledge. Lunch was excellent and he prepared a beautiful table for us in a great spot. Despite returning completely dusty and seemingly with half a desert in our hair, the day was well worth it and we were a group of happy people! It was busy but our guide managed to plan our time so that we did not feel overly crowded in the various spots we visited.
Hoodia Lodge manages to create a very informal, laid back and comfortable atmosphere with no feeling of superiority or aloofness and it was a wonderful place to stay, so many thanks to all the staff and to the owners for their attention to detail, care and hospitality."
"Lovely modern Hotel. Very Enjoyable."
There is ample parking and we were greeted warmly on arrival by the concierge and the reception staff. Reception was busy at the time we arrived and we did wait awhile but that was fine as we sat and enjoyed the modern interior lobby, the ocean and complimentary ice tea. Our extended wait resulted in a lovely ocean view room which was appreciated since we were staying for three nights.
Room was beautifully decorated in a contemporary decor with subtle and pleasing colours and spotlessly clean. All the usual amenities were available and we were very comfortable. Wi-fi was also good in all areas including our room. We also availed of the laundry service at the hotel which was very efficient. We did not use the gym or spa facilities so cannot comment.
We ate in the attached Brewer & Butcher during our stay and enjoyed it. Nice atmosphere, food and beer and hospitable staff. In fact all the staff we interacted with during our stay had beautiful smiles and a warm personality which we encountered all over Namibia, and if they did not immediately know the answer to our question or query quickly found somebody who did.
Breakfast selection was excellent and enjoyed in a bright dining room overlooking the beachfront and waves - Perfect.
It was pleasant to be in a small town and have time to wander and explore on foot and we found Swakopmund quaint and delightful.
As a side note, Sabina from Expert Africa had recommended a day trip with Turnstone Tours to Sandwich Harbour, and we cannot thank her or recommend this trip enough. It was one of the highlights of our entire trip...of which there were admittedly many.
We shared the day with another English couple also booked via Expert Africa and all four of us had a thoroughly fantastic day. Berger, our guide was an engaging character and a perfect host. He truly gave us a special experience and an unparalleled lunch spot on top of a sand dune. Highly recommended!
Great stay at The Strand and in Swakopmund and happy with the choice of accommodation suggested."
I note that other reviewers have written very favorably about the property and I hope that my comments will be read in a constructive manner as this is how they are intended. I note that allowances need to be made for staff training and customer interaction and that balancing and managing expectations in such an environment is not easy.
On arrival at the main gate it took at least 30 minutes for us to be permitted to pass through the gates which was frustrating given that our names were on the security sheet and we showed the guard our booking voucher. He was repeatedly talking to somebody, presumably at the lodge, on the radio and eventually handed the radio to me and I reiterated our booking information. After sometime they agreed to permit us entry.
We were greeted by a guide with refreshments and information about the tours that were on offer and he said that if we wanted to take a tour then we would use our own vehicle which we thought was strange. There was no explanation as to exactly why that was. No map was given to us or was in the room to guide us on our own walks. This was handed to us the following day by the Manager/Owner as we were standing talking with her.
There were bicycles which were available to rent, but honestly I feel these should be complimentary although I note that it seems customary that all additional activities seem to be charged for in Namibia. Perhaps it is deemed necessary to be accompanied for safety reasons although I am not sure if it is mandatory that you take a guide with you.
Our guide took us to our room which was towards the end of the walkway in the golf buggy. We loved the style, design, decor and view and thought it was well equipped.
At no point was there any mention of a way to summon the buggy back to go to the main area should we not wish to walk, and at night after dinner we failed to be able to find anybody to take us back. We had not received any details of a schedule or timings of how and when we might make use of the golf buggy facility.
This is where torches in the room maybe useful as it seemed that only part way of the walkway was lit, or some form of telephone or other communication between the main lodge and the furthest rooms.
We stayed for two nights and unfortunately the first night was extremely cold and windy and wind also blew up from between the floorboards and whilst we did have warm clothing with us it was uncomfortable. I requested additional blankets which housekeeping brought.
There were two chairs outside however I have to say that these were not comfortable to while away a few hours enjoying the scenery on the deck. The addition of one or two loungers would have been great.
We felt that the dining room although in keeping with the design was not particularly welcoming and the bar area very sparse and simply functional. Maybe this is the idea but we felt that more could be made of that circular area with beautiful views. Dinner on both nights was fine, from recollection I think the main courses were buffet/hot plate style. Breakfast the first morning was cooked to order but the second was buffet style and hence cold. The waitress offered to order freshly prepared eggs but by this time we were ready to depart. There should be consistency.
There was no apparent all day tea and coffee station which was common in all other places we stayed, and the regular black coffee that I ordered after dinner appeared on the bill which given our experiences elsewhere I do not think it should.
After dinner tea and coffee should be complimentary. Wine selection was fine and reasonably priced.
We found the waiting staff to be very timid and reluctant and when ordering drinks at the bar were somewhat confused about what was available and how to make certain mixtures having to consult a piece of paper. This again will probably improve over time but their hesitation was noticeable to us. Dinner is also served quite early which again is not uncommon in the lodges, however this seemed to be so that the staff could be driven back to their villages and spend time with their families. This does not encourage guests to linger for an after dinner drink or just to enjoy the evening sky. I think there should be one waiting staff at least on site all the time.
Unique pool with lovely panoramic views. I am sure that it is beautiful sitting around the fire pit although was not lit whilst we were there. Granted the first night was windy but it probably could have been used the second night when there were more guests. The first night I think we were only six in total including us.
Wi-Fi was not connectable at all for us during our stay which was also fine, however the staff said that there is a connection which is obviously very sporadic.
Spitzkoppen is a unique place in a special environment and we are glad to have experienced it, and we sincerely wish the Lodge and its owners and staff continued success in a competitive industry."
Mowani Mountain Camp
"Perfect Sundowner spot - Wonderful!"
Our superior view room was very comfortable, beautifully presented and well equipped and the views and peace amazing, although the insects slightly affected our enjoyment of sitting on our terrace.
We took a nature drive and were fortunate to see some desert elephants. An enjoyable morning with a good and knowledgable guide. There was no wi-fi available in the entire lodge. This was not a problem for us but maybe for some.
The only negative was unfortunately being witness to an unpleasant altercation at reception by a guest at the campsite who was loudly and rudely objecting to not being permitted use of the facilities at the lodge, and pointing at guests in her earshot telling them how privileged they were. I agree we felt extremely privileged to be able to enjoy Mowani so thank you Expert Africa for booking it for us.
According to reception this is not an uncommon mis understanding by camp guests so they may want to clarify this or not make exceptions depending on occupancy.
For us there was nothing not to like with the exception of leaving! Thank you for a very special stay."
Our room was large, again like many of the lodges we stayed in sympathetically designed and decorated in a decor to our taste with a huge deck area. Very well equipped and a welcome and efficient laundry service included. As this was a special 25th wedding anniversary trip we appreciated the nice touch of a card and complimentary sparkling wine.
Due to the wildlife it was necessary to be escorted to and from your room during certain hours. There was a phone in the room to call for a guide and horns for emergencies.
We took an afternoon game drive and sundowner which was excellent and our guide was very engaging and we saw lions and rhinoceros plus calf among many other species of wildlife. We enjoyed our guides company and conversation. He was not rushed and endeavored to be informative and answer all of our questions, queries and accommodate our requests.
Dinner and breakfast were taken on the terrace overlooking a lit waterhole at night which for us was a highlight of our stay as we felt it to be rather special just glancing over to see what animal was visiting.
Personally we felt the food and complimentary wine options to be excellent. I do not eat red meat and one evening I was served fish and the other chicken which had been the norm in other lodges also, however Ongava made an effort to make it slightly more appetizing and creative which was appreciated. The service and staff were good during our visit and for us it was nice to see that they also showed enthusiasm about the birdlife and wildlife visiting the hide.
There was a large pool to one side and a lower sitting and fire pit area the other. These communal areas have clearly been designed to maximize enjoyment of the view and waterhole. Wi-fi was very sporadic in our room but useable in the communal areas.
There is a secure walkway to the hide and the hide itself is comfortable. I do not recall how many seats there were but it was not busy during our stay so it was not an issue. It was very special to simply sit and watch wildlife wander by and we were fascinated in the evening my a visit from a rhinoceros and her calf and three inquisitive porcupines.
We were interested to learn about their conservation and Ongave Research Centre. The lodge was a great introduction to the Etosha region so thank you for a wonderful stay."
Onguma The Fort
"Beautiful location to spend our anniversary."
There was a small nicely stocked gift shop in the lobby entrance. Wi-fi did not really work in our room but was useable in the communal areas. Despite a request that devices are kept to a minimum we did unfortunately have to listen to somebody,s very loud conversation early one evening which clearly annoyed other people as well but was completely oblivious to the person on the phone, plus another person who was very clearly a personal tour guide loudly arranging activities for his clients for the following day.
Guests are taken to and from their rooms by gold buggy however there is parking outside of your room which makes for easy loading and unloading of your car. There is a telephone in the room to call for the gold buggy and this was always very quick.
We loved the spaciousness, bright decor and facilities in our room. It would have been lovely to have sat and lit the fire however it was too warm at the time we visited, although its fair to say we would have welcomed a fire in our room in certain other locations we stayed in. The terrace and oversized sun loungers were great and perfect for relaxing and watching the endless parade of wildlife wandering by.
We enjoyed the peace, nature of the stylish design so different from other places we had stayed but somehow it merged with environment very well, the simple lines and bright fabrics.
We did not use the pool although it was very nicely appointed as were the communal areas and dining terrace overlooking the waterhole. Evening dining was beautiful with immaculately laid tables and very well presented and good food. Unfortunately the first night service was very sporadic and our waiter was very unsure of exactly what was being served despite reading the menu to us, and they had a problem with their ice making machine which obviously can happen, however this meant that cooling white wine was impossible.
We were not the only guests requesting ice and according to the Manager it would seem that between the various other properties the guides when going out for sundowners had emptied all available ice into their large cool boxes. Eventually the Manager secured us a cold bottle of wine and all was resolved to our satisfaction. For us it is not that the problem occurs but how it is resolved that is what you remember. The second night service at dinner was seamless, so perhaps they just had a trying night the previous evening.
We took an afternoon game drive and sundowner which was nice, we did not see so much large wildlife however we had seen ample exploring Etosha so it was nice to learn more about smaller species, bird and flora and fauna.
Onguma The Fort has quite a formal feel but is of a very high standard and an immaculate thoughtful and unobtrusive property and we enjoyed our relaxation there."
Okonjima Bush Camp
"Okonjima & The AfriCat Foundation."
The focus of this Reserve is obviously the care and rehabilitation of cheetahs and leopards some of whom are radio collared. We feel that it is vital to the enjoyment and understanding of the ethos behind this reserve to take the time to fully understand the programme and visit the AfiCat foundation. Additionally we felt that our visit was directly going back into helping the environment, local area and people.
We were fascinated in the way that the radio is programmed in order to track the animals and to witness on one of our drives that despite the signal being very strong, when an animal does not wish to be found then it will simply not be found. This was obviously the other side of tracking and we had been fortunate the previous afternoon and evening to spend time watching a leopard and her cubs happily relaxing and playing, and then again relaxing in a dry sand riverbed as we were driving out of the reserve.
Our guide whose name escapes me as I am writing had apparently worked at the reserve for some seven years+ but had recently left but had returned temporarily to cover the busy period. This meant that he was obviously very knowledgable and over various rides, some with other guests and some just the two of us, we learnt a lot about the area, the background and the history of the reserve and saw a lot of wildlife. He was clearly very passionate and this came across during our time together.
Had a fantastic time looking for and eventually finding Pooh the hyena. We also enjoyed the views of the plains and overall terrain of the reserve, and it was interesting for us to also see efforts to grow their own produce.
The night time hide was quiet for wildlife but a few animals did appear but since you have to drive to and from there the guide that took us seemed reluctant to spend too much time there, which differed from Ongava where since you walked and were independent you could spend as long as you wished. We did not use the swimming pool however it was nicely located around a grassy area with covered seating and am sure is a nice place to relax should you have additional time.
Our room with zipped tent flaps was great, very comfortable, spacious with the addition of a side open rondavel with great loungers, fridge, tea coffee and refreshments and a jar of bird food and a small waterhole. We loved this space and could have happily extended our stay just to sit longer, relax and watch the birds and wildlife wandering by.
The dining and communal areas were very welcoming and relaxed and set around a grassy waterhole. Afternoon refreshment and snack were lovely, and both dinner and breakfast with eggs cooked to order were great and served by happy knowledgable staff. Wine and bar options were also very satisfactory. There is a large gift shop in the lobby with a good selection of AfriCat related items and more traditional African gifts.
We felt that there were many positives here and the right balance of space, staff and guides and have very fond memories of our stay. Excellent job by all involved in this Reserve."
"Gochegansa Lodge & Spa"
Gocheganas is beautifully located on a hilltop with panoramic views. You park your car partway and are taken to the lodge by their own vehicle. I would imagine that if you lived locally to Windhoek this is a very nice option for a weekend away.
Rooms and bathrooms are very spacious with the usual amenities, plus a television and a fridge. Wi-fi in our room was sporadic but useable in the communal areas. The outside room deck area was large and we were able to sit and watch giraffe wandering by in the distance. We did not take any game drives as this was at the end of our Namibia trip and we were happy to simply relax.
There was a great bar area with stunning views and the dining room was also nicely appointed. The food and wine selection was good, however the service was sporadic and rather indifferent.
Spa was good and the indoor warm pool especially tempting given that the outdoor one was too cold, but on a warmer day would be lovely to rest around with great views. Spa treatments are also given in individual treatment rooms and we enjoyed massages which were inexpensive compared to Europe and good quality.
This was a nice option for us, but on reflection we personally were glad to stay only one night and move closer to the City for our last evening."
"Lovely High End Boutique Property."
I write "in theory" as unfortunately I became unwell [Ed: with acute appendicitis] and we ended up staying almost another week in Windhoek. It is therefore quite difficult for me to write about the room and facilities as once there I barely left the bed. My husband however enjoyed the room, comfortable leather settee and all the other extra high end amenities which make the Olive Exclusive special.
The room was not available when we first arrived so we left our luggage and went to run some errands and past the time locally for a few hours.
I do recall many steps from the lobby and parking areas, but a stunningly beautifully and unique decor, lovely view onto an olive grove hence the name and a very nice outside area with loungers and dipping pool. We did have to call housekeeping back as towels and glasses had not been removed from the outside area during servicing.
During our brief check in and check out the main communal area, bar and dining room looked lovely and welcoming especially the deck and with modern contemporary African decor everywhere.
Obviously I regret not being able to enjoy The Olive Exclusive more so should we be in Windhoek in the future we would welcome a return visit."
The location, the refreshing pool, the unique rope bridge giving access to the camp, the spacious and well equipped rooms with stunning river views were all very special, however what made our stay so memorable were the excellent managers Dave & Tammy and their staff.
Dave & Tammy are superb hosts & any lodge would be fortunate to have them. They have a genuine love of their job, their guest experience, the environment, and are extremely professional and hospitable without being overbearing. Nothing is too much trouble for them and if they can accommodate a request then they will. Their guidance and encouragement amongst their staff is also clear to see with their smiling faces. Personally I would like to see staff wearing name tags especially if you are there for a few days as it is easy to forget staff names.
For the last two nights of our stay we were joined by a group of fourteen which could potentially have changed the dynamic of the experience, however Dave and Tammy managed all the guests with courtesy and exceptionally well and we all enjoyed each others company whilst respecting each others space and privacy. Mkulumadzi has a very laid back and comfortable feel which we loved. The camaraderie with other guests and evenings and conversation around the campfire were wonderful.
We were extremely well fed at Mkulumadzi - the chef Thomas does a superb job of managing requests and food given the presumed difficult of obtaining supplies. Rooms were equipped with a fridge with basic supplies, there was no kettle in the room but the kitchen were happy to provide a flask of hot water for tea and coffee. The bed also had a unique and effective air conditioning system within the mosquito net. We had never seen this before and have to say that it worked extremely well.
Before we travelled we were aware of the situation with the amount and visibility of big game and since we have seen big wildlife elsewhere this was not a priority for us, however those visiting to see the "Big 5" maybe disappointed without correct research.
We simply enjoyed being out in such a wonderful environment and seeing the wildlife especially along the river and some wonderful birdlife. Game drives were morning (6.00am) and afternoon/evening (3.00-3.30pm) with the option of river trips as well. We especially enjoyed the river trips as they were something that we had not done previously and enjoying sundowners on the river was very special. We were fortunate to see a Pel's Fishing Owl which created great excitement amongst the avid birders on the boat - many thanks to Dave's efforts & guidance for that experience!
There were two main guides who were very enthusiastic and tried very hard to give guests a wonderful experience despite not being to always show the larger wildlife. We thoroughly enjoyed the company and discussions with Mali & Dali and they gave us a different experience to other drives that we have been on elsewhere. Their enthusiasm is wonderful to see. It is my understanding that African Parks do track larger wildlife but that their location is not shared with the lodge therefore making tracking and sightings difficult.
I will say however that at the moment the lodge seems to have only the two guides and guiding vehicles which quite honestly I do not feel is sufficient especially when close to or at full capacity. During our stay when the large group arrived Dave borrowed a vehicle from African Parks and guided himself which although great with his experience should not be relied upon, however it is to his credit that he borrowed another vehicle to enhance guest experience rather than have everybody squashed together.
We very much liked the fact that excluding tips the lodge was all inclusive, therefore you are not worrying about carrying money or how to pay or what activities to choose to maximise your experience. We gave guide tips separately but otherwise left an envelope to be shared with the remaining lodge staff who apparently have an elected committee who open and distribute tips accordingly.
We had nothing but a positive experience at Mkulumadzi and wish them continued success. There are so many wonderful lodges and experiences to be enjoyed in Africa, but we would not hesitate to return to Mkulumadzi if the opportunity arose.
We most definitely felt like we left as friends... Our thanks to all for a truly special and memorable stay."