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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs S from Wiltshire

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

2

Countries visited

2

Lodges stayed in

8

Excursions taken

0

Chrismas and New Year in Tanzania 2017-18

Tanzania between 22 Dec 2017 and 4 Jan 2018

Trip rating: Excellent
"A really exciting and memorable holiday.

We probably wouldn't go back again in December because of the heat and humidity - but we loved the holiday and would like to do it all over again - probably in September or February!!"

Arranged By Lyndsey Marris


Lake Manze Adventure Camp

Lake Manze Adventure Camp

"Lake Manze Adventure Camp review"

3 nights Arrived 23 Dec 2017
"Game drives and guide Kalisti and guide/driver Daniel (who looked after us extremely well) were excellent - lots of game in the camp area - better on this occasion than other areas in the Selous.

We loved the bush breakfasts and early morning game drives. Our hosts Sean and Millie went beyond the call of duty to welcome us and to make our stay memorable.

The tent would have been more comfortable if the bathroom/toilet had been included in the zipped zone - difficult to avoid insects getting in when the bathroom is in use, particularly at night."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Average
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Selous Impala Camp

Selous Impala Camp

"Selous Impala Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 26 Dec 2017
"It was good to have some lighting in the tent and an inclusive bathroom within the zipped zone.

Our Guide Omari and boat driver Saidi were also excellent - we particularly enjoyed the two boat safaris and the surprise sundowner on the lakeside on our final day. We were generally very well looked after, and David and Beatrice ran a very good operation.

It was interesting that we drove back towards Lake Manza on most of our game drives."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Southern Sun Dar

Southern Sun Dar

"Southern Sun Dar review"

1 night Arrived 28 Dec 2017
"Various items that we requested failed to appear, and the house keeping was haphazard.

Having said that, we had a good meal in the evening and a good night's sleep. Our very early transfer to the airport delivered us there about three hours before necessary - which meant a really early breakfast.

The reason given was variable traffic conditions."
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Service
Average
Fanjove Island Lodge

Fanjove Island Lodge

"Fanjove Private Island Lodge review"

5 nights Arrived 29 Dec 2017
"This really is an amazing place to spend some time.

Our hosts Johan and Laura ran a very efficient operation and they and all the staff made every effort to make us feel welcome and special. They were never too busy to chat, and we learnt an enormous amount from their detailed knowledge of the island and the habitat.

The strong winds and spring tides made adventures on the sea - including the passages to and from the island - interesting! - not for the faint hearted. We really enjoyed the innovative menus at all meals - particularly the varying types of fish - and our New Year's Even BBQ was memorable for all the right reasons - particularly Hakim's antics!!

We would love to go back again!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

Wonderful holiday - both bush and beach

Zanzibar and 1 other country between 17 Feb 2009 and 4 Mar 2009

Trip rating: Excellent
"Claire and her colleagues at Expert Africa were extremely knowledgeable and helpful in putting together our package of safaris and beach holiday. In both camps our excellent guides had to use all their skills to find the game in such dense bush and over such large areas, but find it they did.

The sightings were excellent, the animals and birds less skittish than we expected, particularly in Ruaha, and the weather much drier and more settled than might have been at this time of the year. The Safari Camps and their staff were excellent in every respect, and we had the comfortable and relaxing time at Breezes that we hoped for – a great holiday, and we can't wait to return."

Arranged By Claire Scott


Breezes Beach Club

Breezes Beach Club

"2 night stop-over at Breezes Beach Club"

2 nights Arrived 18 Feb 2009
"Good and bad news when we arrived at Breezes at about 12.15 for our initial two-night stay. The good news - our standard room had been upgraded to a superior room - the bad news - it wouldn't be ready until 1pm – which stretched to nearer 1.45pm.

The decision to stay at Breezes for two nights before our safari was a good one. We fully recovered from the overnight flight and were able to leave luggage not required on safari – and were in good order when we got up at 5am for our trek to Selous, complete with packed breakfast provided by the hotel."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Average
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Siwandu

Siwandu

"By boat, 4WD and on foot - Selous Safari Camp"

3 nights Arrived 20 Feb 2009
"The camp and the staff exceeded all our expectations. The short drive from the airstrip to the camp gave us a taste of what was to come as we passed giraffe and impala. The staff, led by Mark and Jenny, gave us a warm and enthusiastic welcome. Jenny wasted no time in briefing us on the essentials before sending us off to Tent 1 with half an hour to freshen up before our first boat safari.

The camp blends into the landscape unobtrusively and the tents are very private. The tents were amazing – better designed and more luxurious than any in which we had stayed on previous safaris. We had a wonderful view across the foreshore to the lake – and could lie in bed or enjoy an 'outdoor' shower while watching elephant, antelope and waterbuck wander past. Our first ever boat safari with guide Mboto gave a new dimension to game viewing. We saw hippo and crocodile at close quarters and a wide variety of birds, sometimes in huge numbers. Our guides both on and off the water were very knowledgeable and we learned far more about the lives and habits of the wildlife than ever before.

We returned in time for an excellent lunch in the elevated and open sided dining room overlooking the foreshore and lake. The food at Selous was generally of a very high quality – particularly the cakes provided at tea time before the late afternoon safari and produced as snacks on game drives. After tea, we were taken on our first vehicle game drive by guide Allen, the only one of our drives in boat, vehicle or on foot in both Selous and Ruaha which we shared with two other guests. As we had expected from the literature, the game was well spread out across this vast reserve and well hidden by the lush vegetation resulting from the early short rains, but our knowledgeable guide knew where to look.

In our three vehicle game drives – two late afternoon and one in the morning, we saw elephant, huge numbers of giraffe, hippo both off and in the water, crocodile, buffalo, impala, zebra, greater kudu, waterbuck, wildebeest, hyena, jackal, mongoose, squirrel and, the highlight of the Selous visit, wild dogs on an Impala kill followed by a huge heap of vultures – plus, of course, birds wherever you looked – our list over the six days in Selous and Ruaha totalled 95 different varieties that we actually managed to record. There were lions around the camp, but we managed to miss them.

On our second afternoon boat safari, we left the lake and followed the Ruifiji River – again seeing huge varieties of birds and excellent close up views of elephant drinking and feeding on the waterside vegetation. As we sat in our boat enjoying a drink, Mboto suddenly spotted four of the rare black and white Colombo monkeys high in the tree tops on the opposite side of the river – a sighting that is very difficult from beneath the canopy. Mboto also escorted us on our early morning walking safari. We hugely increased our knowledge of both fauna and flora including an insight into the diet of a Civet cat. After a couple of hours walking in the bush, we arrived back at the lake to discover what we thought were fly campers at the water edge – but turned into a surprise breakfast with a huge herd of impala and several giraffe arriving on cue at the neighbouring beach to drink.

We were allocated the 'honeymoon' table for the last night of our stay looking over the camp fire down to the lake with the noise of the hippos echoing up the beach – magic. Mark, Jenny and all the staff went out of their way – beyond what might be called normal duty – to make our stay very special. The final chapter at Selous was the drive back to the airstrip with Mark where we spent half an hour in the Land Rover trying to encourage a small herd of elephants to stay away from the airstrip, only for them to charge across just two minutes before our plane touched down – out of this world!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Jongomero Camp

Jongomero Camp

"Our own private world at Jongomero Camp"

3 nights Arrived 23 Feb 2009
"Detours to avoid towering cumulus had delayed the arrival of our flight at Selous and our friendly lady pilot warned us that we would have to make further detours to avoid the worse of the turbulence on our flight to Ruaha. We eventually arrived at Jongomero airstrip at about 12.30 with only a 10 minute drive to the camp. The greeting at the camp was spectacular – all the staff led by camp manager Molly (otherwise known as Andrew Molinero) and his peripatetic assistant manager Emil (immediately christened Emily to go with Molly) were there in the shade of an enormous baobab tree, as they were every time that we returned to camp after a safari.

In no time at all we were escorted to our tent by a Masai warrior and then back to reception for a drink with Molly before lunch – where we discovered that, for the first 24 hours, we were the only guests! Our first safari with guide Priscus was a good introduction to the varied landscapes to be found in Ruaha. We saw giraffe, hippo, elephant, impala, waterbuck a, dikdik and a lonely jackal and, of course, a huge variety of birds, before returning to camp for a quick shower, more drinks with Molly and Emil and an excellent dinner.

Molly's speciality, apart from expert photography, is walking safaris, but, sadly, there had been sufficient rain to bring the vegetation to life and force the Park Authorities to ban walking safaris because of reduced visibility. We therefore took advantage of the offer of a full day safari next day. We covered an enormous area of the park and saw the first lions of our holiday – a small pride of lionesses relaxing in the sun close to one of the main gates to the park. We also saw, hippo, elephant – including a family with a tiny baby, giraffe, impala, greater kudu, dikdik and banded mongoose. Picnic lunch, complete with table and chairs, was served by the side of a large hippo pool with brightly coloured lizards to entertain us.

Next day, Priscus took us on a morning and evening safari, driving through yet more areas of this huge park. In addition to the game that by now seemed commonplace, Priscus found us a family of bat-eared foxes, a lone hyena – comparatively rare in Jongomero – and two magnificent adult lions sleeping in the sun – the potential threat from which probably explained the absence of a recently seen pride of lionesses and their cubs. We enjoyed coffee and wonderful cake in a dry river bed and then returned to have another look at the lions before returning back over the dry river bed to camp for lunch – except that the river bed was no longer dry! We returned with the good news that the river was running and it duly arrived at Jongomero Camp at about 3 p.m. – with a celebration paddle by Molly and Emil. No more would the baboons keep as amused as they played and quarrelled in the dry river bed below our tent!

Priscus found us our two male lions again on our evening safari, this time stretched luxuriously in a dry river bed just a few feet away from our vehicle. The lions completely ignored our presence, unlike the young male elephant who took exception to our vehicle and made several 'mock' (Priscus said they were!) charges accompanied by full volume trumpeting before Priscus decided that discretion was the better part of valour and drove off with triumphant elephant in hot pursuit! Molly celebrated our final evening by arranging dinner outside by the newly flowing river under a canopy of stars of almost unbelievable brightness – more magic !

Our final safari was something of a bonus as Molly arranged an early pre-breakfast opportunity for Priscus to have one last attempt to find us a leopard before our mid-morning departure to Zanzibar. The bush was definitely quieter than we had experienced in Kenya at this early hour – which explained the reason for the 8 a.m. start for most morning safaris – but this was apparently a good time to find a leopard. Priscus found spoor, but all the promising spots were empty of leopard until suddenly he heard the alarm calls of a troop of baboons – the noise that they would make when threatened by a predator. As we drove under the trees with the baboons above us, something crashed off through the long grass into the dense bush where we couldn't follow – it may have been a jackal, but it was nice to think that it could have been a glimpse of a leopard.

We had a wonderful stay at Jongomero – our hosts Molly and Emil made us very welcome and the staff were friendly and provided excellent service – Priscus was young and enthusiastic with good English and added enormously to our knowledge of Tanzanian wild life – the tents were luxurious – the layout of the camp encouraged a feeling of being alone in the middle of the bush, and visiting elephants around the tent added to that impression. The food was of a very high standard, and we enjoyed eating both in the dining room and outside by the river. The attentions of the tsetse fly in some areas (but not in the camp) were a pain – literally – but we will be better prepared for a further visit to Jongomero and Ruaha."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Breezes Beach Club

Breezes Beach Club

"Beach holiday at Breezes Beach Club"

6 nights Arrived 26 Feb 2009
"Our one hour journey to Breezes after a hot and sticky tour of Stone Town was improved by the close up view of ten or more of the rare Red Columbus Monkeys as we drove through their reserve. No upgrade at Breezes for us this time, but we discovered that our standard room had exactly the same specification as a superior room, was only single storey - so no one above us, was one of a pair as opposed to a row of four, was no further from the beach and reception areas than the superior room to which we had been upgraded on our earlier visit, and was quieter with better garden views. We would have been very disappointed had we paid extra for some of the superior rooms.

We enjoyed our six day stay at Breezes. Our room was excellent, as was the maid service. The absence of a hospitality tray to make a cup of tea was missed, but that was apparently to be provided shortly. The weather was excellent. The food was excellent. The service was excellent. The pool was excellent. The sea was warm – almost bath-hot when the tide came in over the hot sand. There were plenty of bed-chairs under umbrellas.

On the minus side, my attempt to provide a special birthday treat for my wife by arranging 'Private beachfront dining for two with impeccable personalised service and excellent cuisine in The Tides' was an error of judgement, and not just because it was extremely expensive! A bit naff and over the top comes to mind. We (and other people) were badly bitten during the day without being able to identify what was causing the problem. Research at home identified sand flies as the likely culprits and, had we realised they were a threat, could have taken steps to avoid their attention. The cost of things like snorkelling trips and afternoon tea (both of which in many hotels are free) seemed to us extortionate."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Average
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent

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