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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by NJK from Manchester

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

4

Excursions taken

0

First time -- but probably not the last!

Zambia between 28 Jun 2018 and 10 Jul 2018

Trip rating: Excellent
"Amazing trip - even better than I expected.

I'm so glad I chose Zambia and specifically South Luangwa National Park for my first safari. I'm a little worried that I may have been spoiled - apparently it's not normal to see so many animals practically at will and sometimes you may have to wait.

I had already decided on Zambia, SLNP and Norman Carr Safaris before booking with Expert Africa. Lucy organised me beautifully and I didn't need much persuading to add a side trip to Victoria Falls. I was glad to have Lucy to fall back on when I managed to miss an internal flight, though fortunately I only needed her help (and reassurance!) to let the camp know my new arrival time.

At Livingstone, I stayed at Waterberry Lodge – loved my chalet with its verandah overlooking the lagoon, lunch on the deck serenaded by hippos grunting in the Zambezi. Had a wonderful helicopter flight over the falls and through the gorge.

Norman Carr Safaris were all they appear to be - truly excellent. I stayed at Kakuli, Mchenja and Nsolo. All three bushcamps were beautifully situated and well laid-out.

All the chalets I stayed in at each bushcamp were superbly comfortable - superking beds (given the full four-poster effect at night with mosquito nets) and hot water bottles if it was slightly chilly; solar-powered lamps and hot water; open air en-suite; inside and outside seating. Stupendously high roof, the beams and thatch are practically works of art themselves. Each room had fresh cold drinking water in a thermos, Peaceful Sleep mosquito spray and toiletries, I managed to resist the temptation to blow the emergency horn or whistle. There's a two-way cupboard in one of the walls where an early morning cup of tea/coffee will be delivered on request.

All the staff attached to the camps were so very welcoming and friendly, accommodating everyone's needs and wishes, and providing great meals. They really do work hard to ensure you are comfortable and get what you want out of your trip. I was unable to do any walking unfortunately, but there was no quibble about arranging an extra guide when needed. Quite often it was me, a guide and jeep and the beauty and bounty of SLNP - bliss.

As far as I'm concerned, the animals practically line up to greet you. It's just a constant parade of lions, hippos, elephants, leopards, giraffe, buffalo, hyena, wild dogs, kudu, puku, impala, mongoose, wildebeest, genets.... I'm terrible with bird names but there were many and often lovely (lilac-breasted roller, bee-eaters, fish eagle, giant eagle owl). Every game drive or walk is an adventure, as you don't know what you'll find but you know it'll be interesting!

My only concern is that safaris might become expensively addictive..."

Arranged By Lucy Copson


Waterberry Zambezi Lodge

Waterberry Zambezi Lodge

"Green and tranquil"

3 nights Arrived 29 Jun 2018
"Lovely start to my holiday - my first visit to anywhere in Africa. Waterberry Lodge has beautiful grounds and is well-situated on the Zambezi. Great to find a quiet spot (at 'tree time' or on the jetty) to - pretend to - read a book and just enjoy the tranquillity.

My room, Jacana, was huge and comfortable with its own private verandah overlooking the lagoon (sadly I didn't see any crocs or hlppos in it - even though I walked all round the lagoon and looked!). Great pressure in the shower, plentiful hot water. Comfy superkingsize bed with an electric blanket was a treat (I hadn't appreciated fully how chilly the nights can feel).

The staff were very attentive (without being intrusive) and looked after the guests very well. On site, I enjoyed the sunset cruise - my first sight of elephants and hippos in the wild, so exciting - and an informative dawn chorus walk. Kelly arranged two trips into Livingstone for me, firstly for a helicopter ride and then visit the Victoria Falls from the Zambian side (where Webby was excellent company), and a second trip into Livingstone for the railway and Jewish museums.

The food was also excellent and I was very kindly presented with a birthday cake (as well as wine in my room) to mark my 'big' birthday.

I'll never forget my introduction to 'African massage' - which was good preparation for the many others in the days after!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Nsolo Bushcamp

Nsolo Bushcamp

"Setting the standard"

3 nights Arrived 2 Jul 2018
"Is it my favourite because it was my first?

I managed to miss a flight, thereby arriving late and after dark, and spoiling all the arrangements but the staff took this in their stride. I was particularly touched that they'd realised I'd missed lunch and brought me a snack to eat on the journey from the airport. As I was the only guest in camp that night, the entire camp lined up to greet me on arrival which was an hilarious warm welcome. Hello Gloria, John, Albert, Million, Esther and everyone!

Location, location, location - Nsolo on the banks of the dry Luwi is just beautiful. Utter peace: I did have one morning in camp , enjoying the quiet (by choice) when my fellow guests were all out on drives/walks; even the camp staff were barely a murmur. At night there were the darkest of dark skies with fantastic stars and Mars glowing red. One evening we arrived back from the afternoon game drive to find the dinner table 'missing' - it had been moved onto the river bank so we could eat under the stars by lamplight. So very glamorous in the full sense of the word.

We saw six lion cubs idly playing on my first game drive, which set the tone for the rest of my safari week."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Mchenja Bushcamp

Mchenja Bushcamp

"Popcorn, champagne - and a sausage (!)"

2 nights Arrived 5 Jul 2018
"My second camp on my first safari.

At Mchenja, the chalets are perched on high on the riverbank and are open-fronted during the day with pull-down canvas fronts at night. As well as an open-air en-suite, the chalets also have a free-standing bath so you can commune with the bathing hippos, albeit at a safe distance. Somehow I managed to completely miss the swimming pool in the main camp area (so I'll have to go back); too busy admiring the scary hippo skull by the sofas!

We were advised by our guide on one of our evening game drives that he'd 'forgotten' his sundowner box. We did our best not to be traumatised and agreed that we should find the other jeep and hope they'd share with us (whilst secretly worrying they'd scoff the lot and we'd be scavenging crumbs). When we met up with the other jeep, we were surprised by Emmanuel and others from the camp who'd set out a full table, white cloth billowing in the breeze, who treated us to champagne and popcorn to celebrate my 'big' birthday, whilst the hippos sang (OK, grunted) and the sun went down. Just lovely! And having seen how well organised everyone is, we should have known not to believe the story about the forgotten sundowner box.

At Mchenja, I also have to give Emmanuel a special mention for assisting with a small practical joke I asked him to play on a guest who I'd met previously in the week, who was arriving in camp as I left. I promised to leave her a sign that I'd been in camp and Emmanuel - showing enormous trust! - sneaked a sausage from the tree into her bed with the expected hot water bottle as my 'sign'. Emmanuel, we met again on the way to the airport and I can promise she did enjoy the surprise! Thank you for indulging us in our silliness "
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kakuli Bushcamp

Kakuli Bushcamp

"Finishing on a high"

2 nights Arrived 7 Jul 2018
"My third and final bushcamp on my first safari.

I think Kakuli had my favourite chalets - they were rebuilt earlier this year and were so fresh and very large. Like Mchenja, the front is open during the day with canvas walls pulled down at night. The en-suite is actually inside, although screened off rather than a separate room, but there's an outdoor shower too. The polished concrete floor extends into a verandah with a comfy two-seater sofa (and a pair of shy skink living underneath mine). My chalet overlooked the river - but quite high above it - with a view of a well-used hippo trail across to the other side. Sitting on the sofa one afternoon, a small troop of baboons passed in front of me, each one doing a double-take when it realised I was there.

The Kakuli lounge/dining bar area has been extended apparently - I didn't see it before but certainly the current version is spacious. There's a balcony overlooking a small lagoon: two elephants had stopped by for a drink when I arrived and as I left (protestingly) two warthogs were splashing about. Despite it being the dry season, there was actually a brief heavy shower on my last night, and the balcony was awash with tree frogs which we then discovered had migrated to the sofas, resulting in us all shuffling to the dinner table so we didnt step on any en route. Underneath the balcony is now a hide, complete with sofa which cant be common in many hides."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

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