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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Ms M. from London

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

2

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

9

Excursions taken

1

Another good holiday, despite the rain!

Kenya between 4 Jan 2020 and 16 Jan 2020

Trip rating: Good
"As I said in my email to Richard, nobody can be blamed for the unprecedented levels of rainfall in Kenya over the past few months and its effect on the ground, the vegetation and the distribution and accessibility of the wildlife - well, nobody at Expert Africa or on the ground in Kenya. The climate change deniers, maybe!!!

We enjoyed our holiday nevertheless but the issues with wildlife mean that, if we're being honest, it wasn't as good as our first trip last year. We're not very experienced Safari goers and haven't got to the stage that more sophisticated guests might be at, of wanting to look very hard for animals; we want to come out of our camp and see herds of animals across the plains for as far as the eye can see and, at times this year, there was nothing very much as far as the eye could see!

We would like to note that none of the guides we had this year were as good as the excellent ones we had last year.

It's also worth mentioning that there was a misunderstanding about our pick-up time from the airport hostel to go to Solio. Some months ago, we changed the time from 7.30 am to 10 am, and this later time was clearly on our itinerary. However, Patrick from Safari Collections turned up at 7.30 when we were still in bed! He was very good-natured about it and waited for us to get ready and to have breakfast. He was pleasant and chatty throughout the drive and when he came back to Solio to collect us and drive us to Elephant Bedroom. We're not in any way complaining about this. These things happen but we thought you'd like to know."

Arranged By Richard Trillo


Four Points by Sheraton

Four Points by Sheraton

"A very comfortable and convenient first night"

1 night Arrived 4 Jan 2020
"We spent the first night there and also went back there, rather than to the Ole Sereni on our last. Half day in Nairobi.

Our room was smart and comfortable, the breakfast was plentiful and good, although the food on our last day was fairly mediocre."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Solio Lodge

Solio Lodge

"A beautiful place!"

3 nights Arrived 5 Jan 2020
"Solio is a delightful place to spend a few days. The cottages are beautiful, very comfortable and with great views from the floor to ceiling windows. The staff couldn’t have been more warm and welcoming, and quickly established easy, but professional, relationships with guests. The food was delicious and the portions were just the right size. It was so nice to have a buffet lunch, primarily made up of salads!

We were disappointed by the relative scarcity of big cats. Whatever cheetahs used to be there have, accordingly to our guide, all died; there was a leopard but no-one had seen it for ages, and many of the 25 or more lions had left through holes in the fencing which Solio Ranch is responsible for mending but had not done. We were very lucky to see two lionesses and six cubs on one of our days, and then to see a male and a female lion who came back through the fence on another day.

Having said that, we saw fantastic rhinos (white and black), giraffes, zebras and a range of antelopes, even the rogue elephant who had broken in and so, overall, it was a good wildlife experience."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Elephant Bedroom

Elephant Bedroom

"Great location"

3 nights Arrived 8 Jan 2020
"The camp is in a lovely spot - it was really nice to be by a river, a new experience for us. Our tent was good, the balcony with small plunge pool was a real asset, and it was amazing to have an elephant walking up and down in front of us!

The staff were in no way unpleasant but had relatively poor communication skills. Our allocated waiter, for example, said almost nothing other than introduce himself and our guide, whilst perfectly pleasant and polite, also said very little to us. He pointed out animals but only spoke otherwise in answer to direct questions, and then fairly briefly. He never asked us what we wanted to see, told us where he was heading nor asked us whether we were ready to move on from a particular site.

The food was plentiful, ridiculously, but mediocre. Surely no-one needs a three course lunch at 1pm having had breakfast at 9.30 and then a four course evening meal. We felt that quality was sacrificed to quantity. It may seem petty to comment on it but we found the way of serving the food childish and faintly ridiculous: any hot dish was brought under under a silver dome and the waiters made a big show of removing with a flourish making us count down from 3. It was just about ok the first time but after that became simply annoying!

The wildlife was disappointing, apart from the elephants which were great. There’s just didn’t seem to be that much there even and we really had to search for it, driving for long periods of time without seeing anything much..on our first afternoon, we began to wonder if there was any at all! Having not been to Samburu before, it’s difficult to judge whether this is typical of the area but it does seem that the unprecedented levels of rain had something to do with it. We were told that many animals had crossed the river to Buffalo Springs but, contrary to what usually happens, we were unable to follow because the bridge had been damaged in the flood. So, we saw only one Grevy stallion, the large female herd having decamped, the same couple of giraffe several times, some gerenuk, oryx, impala and gazelles, but no cheetah and two male lions only; we were, however, lucky enough on our last drive to see a leopard."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Average
Activities
Average
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Facilities
Good
Elephant Pepper Camp

Elephant Pepper Camp

"Lovely managers"

4 nights Arrived 11 Jan 2020
"The location of the camp is very good and our tent was really lovely, incredibly spacious, but one of the best features of the camp is the management, Tom and Alison. They couldn't be more friendly, warm and accommodating. Nothing is too much trouble, they spend a lot of their day making sure the guests are all well and have everything they want, are always there to see us off in the morning and welcome us back, even in the pouring rain, and their sense of humour certainly kept us entertained!

It was nice to have lunch all together at a big table and the range of salads for the buffet lunch was excellent, innovative, tasty and different every day. The homemade bread was also delicious.

The wildlife was good, but not outstanding, mainly due to the effect of previous torrential rain and the rain and storms we experienced whilst there in the afternoons. On the morning game drives, we did manage to see a variety of animals but not in the numbers we had expected. Our guide told us that many of the herds had moved to areas with shorter grass but it was only when we and the couple we shared the jeep with specifically asked him if some of those areas were accessible to us that he took us up to the higher plateau where we did see the herds of zebra and wildebeest we had expected, along with a larger number of giraffe than we saw anywhere else.

It was very cold there in the evening. The open sided dining tent didn't provide much protection from the cold on the three rainy evenings we had and we ate our dinner in not just a fleece but also our outdoor jackets! The Naboisho camp last year also had an open sided dining tent but we certainly don't remember having to wear coats so it must be down to this year's weather - nobody's fault but it wasn't a very relaxing way to eat your dinner!"
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Good

My Jan 2019 trip

Kenya between 28 Jan 2019 and 10 Feb 2019

Trip rating: Excellent
"We had a really wonderful holiday, every moment of which was memorable.

We enjoyed all four places we stayed, seeing a wide variety of wildlife and some beautiful landscapes. Everyone we met was warm, friendly and welcoming and we felt very well looked after at every stage of the trip.

Giraffe Manor is an extraordinary place, offering a unique experience that we will never forget, and the three lodges/camps were different enough to give us a sense of constantly seeing something new.

We couldn’t have asked for a better holiday and can’t wait to go again!"

Arranged By Richard Trillo


Crowne Plaza Nairobi Airport

Crowne Plaza Nairobi Airport

"Convenient and comfortable"

1 night Arrived 28 Jan 2019
"Having arrived at 10 pm, had a cup of coffee and gone to bed, and then having got up just in time to have breakfast before being picked up by Giraffe Manor, it's difficult to offer a considered assessment of the hotel.

However, the breakfast is very good and the location is excellent - it seems to be the perfect place for a stopover."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Giraffe Manor

Giraffe Manor

"Unique, memorable and altogether wonderful!"

2 nights Arrived 29 Jan 2019
"What can we say???? Everything about Giraffe Manor lived up to, and exceeded, our expectations. The house and grounds are lovely, the staff were delightful, and endlessly patient with over-excited guests, and Tony, the manager, was welcoming, helpful and enthusiastic.

The food was delicious (creative and very well cooked), and as for the giraffes, it was love at first sight! Breakfast seems very mundane without them.

It was very easy to get to other places and we went to the Giraffe Centre, the Karen Blixen house and the elephant sanctuary - even though we had already booked a foster parent visit for our last afternoon in Nairobi, we opted to go on the public morning visit as well, and are glad we did so as we able to see the elephants in different circumstances on the two visits.

We understand that they might build a pool and that’s would be a welcome addition - exercise might help counteract the large meals!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Elsa's Kopje

Elsa's Kopje

" A really special place"

3 nights Arrived 31 Jan 2019
"We loved this lodge. Our room was amazing, sculpted out of the rock, and so comfortable. The management and staff were brilliant - welcoming, warm, knowledgeable and friendly. George and Theresa were great and the staff, generally, were more at ease in their interaction with us than at the other two lodges we stayed in, whilst being entirely professional. The food was a cut above, second only to Giraffe Manor, no mean feat given that they are cooking in a much less high tech kitchen, and it was so lovely to eat out under the stars.

It was great to have a pool which we made use of in the afternoons.

The guides were excellent, making sure they showed us as much as possible. The wildlife was good but more difficult to find than in the Mara - you had to go looking for it, and we didn’t come across a cheetah or leopard. We did know before we went that the wildlife would not be as extensive as in the Mara so this is not a complaint, just an observation.

There’s a lovely atmospheric feel to Elsa’s that’s quite hard to define but is key to its appeal. It’s a very charming place that we would seriously consider going back to a second time."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Lewa Wilderness

Lewa Wilderness

"Very pretty lodge and gardens"

3 nights Arrived 3 Feb 2019
"Lewa Wilderness is a very attractive lodge, with manicured gardens and spectacular bougainvillea.

It has a welcome, if slightly cold, pool with a very comfortable seating area around. Our room was beautiful and very spacious, with a huge veranda on which they hyraxes sunned themselves every morning! The open fire was very welcome in the evening, both for its look and its warmth, as this was definitely the coldest of the places we stayed - this was the only place where there were no dressing gowns, and the one place we could have done with one.

The surprise breakfast in the Bush was lovely, and the best one we had. The buffet lunch was good but the food in the evening was slightly bland, with no choice, unlike all three other places.

There was a greater variety of wildlife than at Meru although, as in Meru, you had to look for it. We were pleased to see rhinos, black and white, a leopard and a cheetah, as well as a bush baby. Our guide was great."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Naboisho Camp

Naboisho Camp

"Tented luxury!"

3 nights Arrived 6 Feb 2019
"How can our room be called a tent??? It was bigger than many studio flats in London! Obviously, it was not as stunning as our rooms in Meru and Lewa but it was extraordinary for what it was, and we were very comfortable in it. The food was very good, with a buffet lunch and choice for the main course in the evening.

The management and staff were friendly and knowledgeable and, again, our guide was excellent. He (Daniel) knew our passion for the big cats and ensured we saw them as much possible, whilst also showing us all the other animals. He even found us three tiny lion cubs in the dark, which no-one else saw. The variety and number of animals was far and away the best we saw.

The hot water bottle in the jeep in the early morning was a very nice touch, as was the campfire in the evening."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Nairobi Elephant Orphanage visit

Nairobi Elephant Orphanage visit

"Great visit to the elephant orphanage"

10 Feb 2019 • Afternoon excursion

We went twice, once in the morning with the general public at the beginning of our holiday and once in the afternoon for a foster parent visit on our last day, and we’re glad we did so as it gave us a more rounded picture of the elephants. In some ways, the morning visit was more entertaining, despite being very much more crowded.

We loved seeing all the elephants, including the one we have fostered, and the tiny rhino, and the afternoon visit gave us the opportunity to talk to some of the keepers.
Excellent

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