Travel reviews by Ms & Mr P from USA
Total number of trips
Lodges stayed in
Namibia: May 2022
Namibia between 19 May 2022 and 7 Jun 2022
Justin and I had a fabulous time in Namibia; thank you so much for finally bringing this trip to life!!!"
"Luxury in the Making"
"An Oasis in the Desert"
Our guides were fantastic and knowledgeable; Simon in particular was incredible, carrying water and functioning as our cheerleader as we ascended Big Daddy (no easy feat!). At the lodge, the staff were friendly and attentive. We also enjoyed the cuisine, which was varied, plentiful, and wonderfully prepared. The main lodge was beautifully appointed, a testament to the recent redesign. While not as lovely as the main lodge, the rooms were very comfortable, featuring strong air conditioning, large decks perfect for stargazing (with outdoor beds made by the staff each night!), and cold plunge pools.
Lastly, we appreciated Wilderness' commitment to the environment and its use of solar throughout the property."
The lodge itself is beautifully appointed and perfectly situated along the Kunene River. Facing the river and Serra Cafema mountains, our cabin featured an expansive deck, where we would lounge each afternoon to enjoy the breeze and sounds of the river flowing. (The cabin did not have air conditioning, though we found it to be unnecessary during our stay.) And while difficult to compete with the incredible setting, the staff were the true stars of the show, going out of their way to make our stay and my birthday pure magic (with a surprise birthday party, complete with singing, a specially made chocolate cake, and champagne on the dunes!!!).
From stunning sunsets to adrenaline-rushing quad-biking and touching cultural experiences with the Himba, we had an incredible time with our guide Charlie. When the time came for us to sadly depart, we felt as though we were leaving close friends!
While slightly "off the beaten path" (which we loved!), we cannot recommend this lodge enough!"
Desert Rhino Camp
"A Thrilling Experience"
We immediately connected with our personable and knowledgeable guide Rechie, who always went above and beyond to make our time memorable. As my "birthday present," Rechie gifted us not one, but two black rhino sightings and approaches in one day. And after learning of a sighting of two lionesses (which we had previously tried to locate), Rechie quickly whisked us from camp just before our departing flight to see them; such a thrilling experience!
While the accommodations are not as luxurious as some of the other Wilderness lodges, we found the tents to be very comfortable, cozy, and perfectly situated!"
Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp
"Chic, Remote Camp"
As for the camp, the staff are incredibly friendly and accommodating. The main lodge is comfortable and inviting, with an ice cold pool offering relief during the hot afternoons. The tents are spacious, powered by solar, and smartly appointed. The only downside was the lack of air conditioning, which made lounging in the room during the afternoon as well as sleeping a challenge; it took very long for the room temperature to drop at night and opening the windows was not an option given small holes in the screen, which allowed a considerable number of bugs to enter. (And we traveled in winter; I cannot imagine visiting in summer!) That said, our only suggestion is to include air conditioning units (similar to those at Little Kulala), or at least address the holes in the screens to allow ventilation at night without inviting bugs in the room.
Overall though, we loved the camp and would highly recommend!"
Andersson's at Ongava
Similarly, the staff were not nearly as engaging or inviting compared to other lodges we experienced across Namibia (or Africa for that matter). Cuisine was hit or miss; during our one night stay, we enjoyed a delicious dinner, but found the breakfast and lunch mediocre.
The bright spot of our stay was our nocturnal encounter with two black rhinos during dinner; simply fascinating to watch them drink from the water hole, enjoy the licking stone, and interact."
"The Epitome of Luxury in Namibia"
Perched up on a hill with sweeping views over the plains, the lodge is beautifully appointed and incredibly intimate, with just three suites. Our suite was massive, featuring a cozy sitting room with a fireplace, beautiful en-suite with a clawfoot tub, two decks with stunning views, and a plunge pool (which unfortunately we did not use given the temperature).
The staff, in particular Kelly, were very accommodative and inviting, and our guide Binius went above and beyond, taking us to approach white rhinos on foot; a thrilling experience!
All in all, a very luxurious experience in the bush!"
"Tranquil Setting in Windhoek"
We stayed in a premier suite, which offered a comfortable sitting area, plush bed, and plunge pool, and enjoyed all meals at the restaurant, which were wonderfully prepared.
My May 2019 trip
Kenya and 1 other country between 16 May 2019 and 24 May 2019
Maruska is simply phenomenal; she goes above and beyond to answer all possible questions and to ensure each client has the trip of a lifetime.
Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:
The only suggestion I have with respect to trips to Rwanda is to provide a bit more guidance on the tipping etiquette. While the information provided on the website was quite helpful on the amount to give the various folks involved in a successful trek, my husband and I didn't realize the number of folks involved in each trek, and therefore, didn't bring enough USD.
It would be helpful to note how many rangers, trackers, etc. to expect on a trek (on average) to assist with this element of planning."
Crowne Plaza Nairobi Airport
"Crowne Plaza Nairobi Airport review"
"Bisate Lodge review"
Upon arrival, we were first in awe of the beautiful design. Built into the side of a mountain, the lodge is incredibly unique and stunningly designed; we loved that the villas and common areas capitalized on the local aesthetic.
Our hosts, Jomi and Hadley, and the staff were incredibly accommodating and personable; we truly felt as though we were staying at our home away from home. And we must tip our hat to the chef who crafted delicious fare meal after meal and was kind enough to share recipes for some of our favorite dishes.
Simply stated, we would return to this lodge in a heartbeat and highly recommend it to others. You will not be disappointed!"
Kigali Tour and Genocide Memorial Visit
"City & Genocide Memorial Tour review"
17 May 2019 • Morning excursion
Golden Monkey Trekking
"Golden Monkey Trekking review"
18 May 2019 • Morning excursion
They are incredible to observe!
Gorilla Trekking Safari
"Gorilla Trekking Safari review"
19 May 2019 • Morning excursion
Our gorilla trekking experience was simply magical!
Gorilla Trekking Safari
"Gorilla Trekking Safari review"
20 May 2019 • Morning excursion
[ Ed: "Truly a bucket list experience!
Our gorilla trekking experience was simply magical!" ]
Memories to last a lifetime
Botswana and 1 other country between 26 May 2018 and 11 Jun 2018
The fact that our trip was as seamless and amazing as it was is attributable to Maruska--we cannot thank her enough for such an incredible trip!"
Winelands Private Tour
"Winelands Private Tour"
26 May 2018 • All-day excursion
Each wine estate we visited boasted lovely staff and superb South African wines, which are highly undervalued abroad! And our lunch experience was truly incredible--a delicious meal and breathtaking views!
City and Table Mountain Tour
"City and Table Mountain Tour"
29 May 2018 • Morning excursion
Riann provided a wealth of information regarding the city, South Africa as a whole and its history, current politics, etc., that provided context to many of the sights visited. We appreciated the half-day nature of this tour as it allowed us to spend the afternoon at the Waterfront where we enjoyed a lovely lunch and some shopping.
Cape Point and Peninsula Tour
"Cape Point and Peninsula Tour"
30 May 2018 • All-day excursion
The views from the top of Cape Point were truly breathtaking! (A word to the wise: all should be prepared for all seasons on this tour; my husband and I were caught in a downpour while visiting Cape Point--needless to say, we were very wet afterwards!)
We were blown away by the vast and diverse gardens at Kirstenbosch, even in winter! Boulders Beach was truly the highlight of the day; observing the penguins at various life stages at such a close distance was spectacular!
Royal Livingstone Hotel
"Lovely hotel, but mixed service"
The rooms are comfortable, with safe-to-drink tap water and views of the river (not to mention views of our zebra and impala friends, too!). The hotel is a short walk to the Victoria Falls park, where we ventured to get close-up views of the Falls (or at least, experience the mist given the volume of water contributing to the Falls).
However, the level of service was not reflective of a five-star property. The staff, while friendly, were a bit robotic, delivered incorrect items at meal services, and could have been more attentive. Aside from the breakfast spread, which was vast, the meals on offer were mediocre (though, we did enjoy the meal on the Livingstone Express). Ironically, after each meal, the staff provided guests with feedback cards; however, one felt compelled to not only provide a review, but a positive one at that, given the waitstaff hovered over you as you filled the card out."
Lady Livingstone Sunset River Cruise
"Tranquil Sunset Cruise"
1 Jun 2018 • Afternoon excursion
We enjoyed the canapes and open bar along with the gorgeous sunset!
Helicopter Scenic Flight
"Epic way to view the Falls"
2 Jun 2018 • Morning excursion
While we opted for the shorter helicopter tour, we felt it to be a sufficient amount of time to circle the Falls several times, allowing one to take several photos and videos, too. We also purchased the in-house produced video, which was a great memento.
We encountered one slight issue upon checking in (they sought a voucher, which we did not have, and did not have our names on the list); however, it was quickly rectified and we were on our way.
"Luxury in the Delta"
Our game drives with Chief, our aptly-named safari guide, were fantastic! Extremely knowledgeable, Chief was able to track down a number of animals allowing us to spot (among other game) lions (male and female), hippos, zebra, giraffes, elephants, hyena, wild African dogs (we felt incredibly lucky to come across a large pack!), and the elusive white rhino!
Back at the lodge, we enjoyed fantastic meals and superb service! The staff was beyond accommodating and incredibly warm and friendly; everyone addressed us by our names and went out of their way to ensure our comfort.
We would not hesitate to stay here again!"
"Luxury Glamping in the Bush"
Game drives with our expert safari guide, Pete, were fantastic! He went out of his way to ensure we were able to complete another spotting of the big 5 and obtain incredible photographs. During the duration of our stay, we had sightings of several different animals--too many to mention them all--but we did have an incredible encounter with a leopard and no fewer than 40 elephants around a water hole!
On our last full day, Pete took us on a full day game drive, starting well before the crack of dawn and ending well after sunset (talk about stamina, patience, and a passion for game!), and, along with other members of the fantastic staff, surprised us with a several course lunch in the bush. What a day! But it did not end there, for when we returned, our lovely hosts and their incredible staff had drawn a hot bath for us that was followed by private dinner served to us in our tent--a brilliant and romantic end to the day!
Every meal at Zarafa is out-of-this-world delicious and high-end restaurant worthy. You can tell that an incredible amount of time and thought is given to the menu, which is extremely varied and flavorful!
Our "tent" was extremely luxurious and spacious, with a comfortable seating area that was perfect for relaxing mid-day when not on a drive, a delightful bed, and a bathroom featuring a stunning copper soaking tub. We shouldn't neglect to mention the copper gas heaters, which were extremely useful when warming up the tent in the evenings and mornings!
It is not a question of if we will be back to Zarafa, but merely when!"
However, certain elements did not live up to the luxurious experience we initially anticipated. Aside from the close proximity to the airport, we selected this property given its lovely design and views. The huts are spacious and well appointed, but are exposed to the elements (vented gap between the walls and roof) and only have one small unit to combat cold / hot air flow from outside. While we experienced a cold snap during our stay, each night the staff kindly made a fire, which did help.
Also, we experienced roughly a 4 hour period without running water throughout the property and did not receive an ETA on resolution (particularly frustrating as we'd just returned from the spa and were eager to shower).
During our stay, we took advantage of the spa. While we had pre-booked couples' treatments for both days of our stay, we learned that they had no record of our booking and only had one massage therapist available each day, requiring us to go back to back. Additionally, the massage experience was not as relaxing as I had hoped; my massages were rather hurried and a bit uncomfortable at times. Spa billing also proved to be confusing. On arrival, we were told a 60 min treatment was an included activity, though our bill reflected a charge. After inquiring, the staff removed the charge, but indicated certain spa services were not included activities. (However, while the services in name may have been different, the experience was exactly the same.)
Aside from the spa, we found the food to be varied and tasty; however, the service was hit or miss. While some were very accommodating, others missed the mark (repeat requests, unfilled water glasses, etc.). Lastly, while our arrival transfer was in a comfortable SUV where we were offered refreshments, our departure transfer was in relatively cramped local taxi vehicle, with no water provided."