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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs B from London

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

2

Countries visited

2

Lodges stayed in

9

Excursions taken

2

My Feb 2022 trip

Kenya between 10 Feb 2022 and 17 Feb 2022

Trip rating: Excellent
"This was booked as our honeymoon and was a fantastic trip with many once in a lifetime experiences.

Claire at Expert Africa was excellent at securing a room at giraffe manor for us, making enquiries with Kicheche, arranging PCR tests etc. This is the 2nd time I have used Expert Africa and will do so again.

As someone who has travelled in Africa many times over many years I tend to do my own research and know where I want to stay but I have spoken with other tourists who have really appreciated the advice they received from Expert Africa in putting together their own holidays and choosing the right place to stay for them."

Arranged By Claire Scott


Four Points Nairobi Airport

Four Points Nairobi Airport

"Four Points by Sheraton review"

1 night Arrived 10 Feb 2022
"We arrived late at night after arriving at the international airport and it made for a very comfortable stop over. It is only a few minutes drive from the airport terminal so very convenient.

On arrival a sniffer dog checked us and our luggage before the vehicle could approach the main building. As a Marriott run hotel it is very modern and clean. A large room with a good size bathroom. Fast wifi. Breakfast in the morning was either indoors or outdoors and all the usual five start hotel options were available. The checkout time was not until midday so there was no pressure to leave the room prior to being picked up to continue our holiday. We didn't use it but there is a modern gym.

As an airport hotel it served its purpose perfectly but will obviously never be the highlight of a holiday!"
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Average
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Giraffe Manor

Giraffe Manor

"Giraffe Manor review"

1 night Arrived 11 Feb 2022
"I first contacted Expert Africa 15 months in advance of the holiday and was hoping we could stay on a specific night to tie in with leave from work and the rest of our holiday. Even that far in advance there was no room on that day but Claire at Expert Africa managed to secure a room which giraffe come to in the morning for a few days later and emailed me to say the room was being held for me if we wanted to go ahead with it. This was great work and by shifting our holiday by a few days we managed to stay in a fantastic room. The lesson to be learned is that, for one of the better rooms, booking need to be made as far in advance as possible, certainly well over a year in advance.

We were transferred from the airport hotel to Giraffe Manor in the late morning in a comfortable mini-bus. The hotel is stunning and perfectly blends modern twists with original features. The terrace is great for drinks or just sitting and enjoying the view. It is slightly raised so giraffe can't enter it apart from when a gate is opened for them in the morning when guests are still in their rooms.

The room was huge with a massive bed under a four poster mosquito net. The bathroom was very large. This is a luxury room. Wifi is available throughout the building. Our room had a small balcony that giraffe come to early in the morning. Top tip: wake up 10 minutes earlier than is suggested and before the other guests and all the giraffe will come to your balcony first. We were feeding three from our balcony at one stage.

The food is fine dining style with delicious wines. Lunch and dinner were outside on the dining terrace with individual tables due to covid. Breakfast was inside the breakfast room. Once guests have eaten the windows are opened to allow the giraffe to put their heads through and eat pellets from the breakfast tables.

High tea was served on the terrace and was a highlight. The giraffe all come to the terrace and the hotel staff show guests how to feed them either from the hand or by holding a pellet between your lips for a giraffe to take. The staff are happy to take lots of photos. Tea, cakes, scones, cookies etc were also served but were a side show compared to the giraffes!

This hotel is very expensive but for us on our honeymoon was absolutely worth it. It was a special way to start our holiday. Some other guests were staying for 2 nights although I don't see the need to stay for more than 1. Once all meals and high tea along with the giraffe feeding has been done then I feel you have taken advantage of all the hotel has to offer. If a guest is planning to take part in other activities around Nairobi I would question why they need to spend so much money on a hotel like this if they are not going to be there to take advantage of it. 24 hours was just right."
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kicheche Bush Camp

Kicheche Bush Camp

"Kicheche Bush Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 12 Feb 2022
"We had been wanting to stay at Kicheche Bush Camp for a long time. The camp has been managed for many years by Darren and Emma and dog Frankie however they are moving on to a new venture and, at least for a few months, the camp is being managed by Thorban and his partner Coco and dog Inca. Thorban has previously worked as the relief manager so there is a high degree of continuity from the old management to new. We were there during the hand over week before Darren and Emma departed. Thorban and Coco were very friendly, professional, and had everything running very smoothly. I am sure that if they choose to stay for the long term they will make a great success of the camp.

It should also be noted that the camp now has wifi in all tents and running hot water to replace bucket showers has been installed. We weren't aware of this before staying. I suppose wifi is inevitable these days and perhaps a more disciplined traveller than us can turn their phones off. It's good to be able to contact family and friends but the ability to really switch off and enjoy being on safari is harder and harder to achieve.

The camp consists of the mess tent with comfortable sofas and chairs, pictures, tables and a desk for photographers to edit their photos at. The rooms are very large tents. There is a porch area with comfy chairs and guide books for reference. In the main area of the tent is a huge bed. During the day the walls of the tent are opened to just mesh so the tent is very well lit and airy with good views of the surrounding bush. There is a plumbed shower with hot water 24/7 and plenty of storage space for clothing. The rooms are cleaned every day while guests are out and also turned down in the evenings when insect spray is also used. During the hours of darkness guests must be accompanied by an askari who we found to be very friendly and helpful. The 6 tents are positioned 3 on each side of the mess tent with an askari for each 3. From the path between our tent and the main area we spotted a hyena one evening in the askari's torch light and a bushbaby. One evening, shortly after returning from our afternoon game drive during darkness, a spider moved suddenly in a corner of the tent causing Liz to exclaim a startled 'ooh' at only moderate volume. Within a few seconds the askari was outside our tent calling through to us asking if everything was ok. His hearing and quick response was impressive and reassuring. We found all the staff to be very friendly and very professional.

Thorban and our guide Charles went above and beyond to secure us a PCR test when heavy rains meant we were struggling to get to the nurse who would test us. We eventually found a crossable bridge but we were aware that Charles was driving long distances to try every route for us and back at camp Thorban was calling other camps to try and find a back up option for us if we couldn't get across the river.

Food at the camp was excellent. Tea/coffee and cookies was brought to the tent at 5.15 each morning before we went on our morning drive at 6am. Breakfast was a cold picnic by the side of the vehicle at around 9am every day with cereal, scotch eggs, pancakes, fruit etc. Lunch was buffet style outside back at camp. Dinner was 3 courses served in the mess tent around a large table so all guests could chat to each other. All accompanied by good wine.

We were guided by Charles who has been a guide at the camp for over a decade. He was excellent at spotting the tiniest movement or shape under a distant bush which turned out to be a fantastic sighting. He was very knowledgable and relaxed. Over 5 nights we saw the following on multiple occasions (some almost daily): lion, cheetah with cubs, leopard, elephant, buffalo, plains game, hyena etc.

My only issue, which I raised with Thorban, is a complicated one and not a simple issue for a camp manager to rectify. Kicheche Bush Camp, as well as attracting regular tourists such as ourselves (including guests that return many times), also attracts professional photographers or at the very least 'hardcore' photographers who spend a considerable amount of time each year in the bush. This results in different expectations and attitudes to game sightings. As a result a leopard, laying in plain view in a shady spot, is a magical sighting to the likes of us but simply down time to the professional who is waiting for 'action' to happen. There may be several vehicles in close proximity at the sighting from different camps. I was disappointed and frustrated to find that at these sighting the 'professionals' would hold conversations between themselves, across the vehicles, at a volume that meant everyone present had to listen to them. These were the bored conversations of professionals waiting for what they were really there for to take place e.g. the leopard going hunting, while us tourists were trying to enjoy the magical sight of a leopard laying in plain view. These conversations would be as mundane as what camera kit they were carrying/thinking of getting. It was the clash between tourists and professionals who had different expectations/experiences of the sighting and the professionals who had seen this a thousand times before, in my opinion, lacked respect for the tourist who was perhaps experiencing this for the first time. Every safari goer should know a game sighting should be enjoyed in silence. Communication, where it has to take place, should be in a lowered voice. There is no excuse for bored conversations at a raised volume between vehicles and the 'hard-core' of all people should know this. The safari guides clearly felt unable to intervene and I sympathise with them. These photographers are staying at the camps for weeks every year and are no doubt the major source of income for the camps. These people have built up long-standing relationships with the camps/guides and so at this stage can not be 'instructed' in safari etiquette in the way a first time tourist can be which is disappointing and not a simple issue to resolve. Thorban listened to my concern very attentively and agreed that it was an issue. It is however an industry wide issue and not something Kicheche will be able to resolve on their own and would have to handled very sensitively.

We had rain most evenings in the conservancy which only had a minimal impact on us. Wellington boots and umbrellas are available in the tents to be used and were very welcome.

I would thoroughly recommend Kicheche Bush Camp. The camp is well run with every amenity you could want. The staff are excellent. The guides are fantastic and the game is plentiful and diverse. We loved it."
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kicheche Walking Wilderness

Kicheche Walking Wilderness

"Kicheche Walking Wilderness review"

1 night Arrived 14 Feb 2022
"We did the walking safari as our middle night of the 5 we spend at Kicheche. While most people stay at the fly camp while transferring between camps we chose to walk out from the Bush Camp and then return to it the next day.

We were a little unlucky with the weather. We walked about 10km on easy terrain with our guide Charles and an armed ranger. Heavy rain then came down and Johnson in a support vehicle came charging up to us to drive us the final 3km to the camp. During the walk we looked at tracks, bones, bird eggs, plants with Charles. At a distance we saw numerous plains game, buffalo and hyena.

The camp consisted of a two person dome tent with two cot beds, a covered area for eating in due to the bad weather, a toilet tent with a short drop toilet and a bucket shower tent. Due to a massive storm that came through we couldn't sit by the fire which was a shame but were still served a three course dinner. On arrival there was prosecco waiting for us (as honeymooners) and Johnson spoke at length with us about the conservancy, Masaai culture etc which was very interesting to hear. We got a good nights sleep in the very comfortable bedding listening to the storm hammer down outside. It was made clear to us that we could return to the Bush Camp at any time if the weather was too much for us.

After a 6.30am wake up we had cold breakfast watching giraffe in the distance before walking back to Kicheche Bush camp.

As keen walkers we were keen to do some walking on this holiday and I would recommend it. It is different to walking in the likes of Zimbabwe where there is a focus on walking close to big game. On this walk close proximity to big game is avoided and the focus is more on the little things. The terrain was boggy in places from the rain but easily passable and anyone who has walked at all in the likes of Dartmoor or the Lake District will find it no challenge at all. The pace is gentle.

We enjoyed it hugely and it made a nice change from game drives with an opportunity to stretch our legs a little."
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kicheche Bush Camp

Kicheche Bush Camp

"Kicheche Bush Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 15 Feb 2022
"Please see previous review. [Ed: see below]"
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

Excellent trip all round

Zimbabwe between 24 Sep 2019 and 6 Oct 2019

Trip rating: Excellent
"The trip was very well organised. All the transfers worked seamlessly and there was plenty of time to do everything we wanted to. It was supposed to be a wild, adventurous, luxurious safari and trip to the falls and that is what we got."

Victoria Falls Safari Club

Victoria Falls Safari Club

"Luxury Hotel"

1 night Arrived 25 Sep 2019
"A really luxurious hotel to start and end the holiday at. The complimentary cocktails and canapes in the afternoon are a great touch and the breakfast is fantastic. Views from the lounge and room balcony are incredible. We also enjoyed attending the vulture feeding one afternoon. Only negative was our water and tea and coffee in the room wasn't restocked so we ran out before the end of our stay. Watching wildlife coming to the waterhole in the evenings is fun although going to the bar/restaurant at the sister hotel - Safari Lodge - gives better views. It was a great place to stay overnight when we first arrived before heading out the next day and then to catch up on sleep at the end of an intense safari."
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Camp Hwange

Camp Hwange

"Incredible camp"

4 nights Arrived 26 Sep 2019
"This is the best safari lodge I have ever stayed at. The camp is run by Kim and Savannah who ensure everything runs smoothly. The food is always excellent and the vehicles are always stocked with coolboxes with snacks and drinks. You always had the feeling that behind the smiles and friendly chat behind the scenes a lot of hard work was going on to make sure everything was just right - they are very professional. The waterhole opposite the camp is very active and we spent a fantastic evening in the log hide there watching elephants at very close quarters, as we sipped a gin and tonic. The rooms are just right - quite simple but have everything you need. The wifi was down while we were there which didn't bother us at all. There is a plug in the room suitable for charging most devices. Meals in the camp were of a very high standard.

We were guided at both our camps by Alan, a ZimPro freelancer. It should be noted that the camp only has 2 resident guides, Adam and Moses, so when the camp is full as it was when we were there, freelance guides are brought in who are very good but you can't rely on being with a particular resident guide who you may have read about working there. The camp has a policy of keeping guests with the same guide throughout there stay and as we were travelling to the sister camp - Hwange Bush Camp - Alan was brought in to guide us for the full 8 days. They also have a policy that a guest must be guided by a ZimPro guide, even on vehicle activities although they have a group of learner guides working towards the highest qualification. This meant it was just the two of us with Alan and his tracker Ernest for 7 of our 8 days. On the day we were joined by other guests it was an elderly American couple who were quite frail. I was braced for a frustrating day at having to cater to their pace and style of safari which could not have been more different from our own but was impressed that the camp had immediately realised this and sent a learner guide with us, assuring us that we would drive for a short distance, then we would go for a walk with Alan while the learner guide continued in the vehicle with the American couple before meeting us later. When one of the Americans then suggested he would like to walk with us it was gently suggested to him that we would be covering several miles on difficult ground in the heat and perhaps he would find the vehicle more enjoyable. It was well handled by the camp staff as he was totally unsuited to the kind of walks offered by the camp!

I don't want to give the impression that the walks were very demanding - they weren't - but they were several hours long and after about 10am the temperature rockets upwards. When you pick up the tracks of something you want to follow it takes as long as it takes (we tracked Rhino for about 4 hours, after picking up the tracks 2 hours into our walk). This was fantastic for us and what we were there for but isn't for everybody. When you consider that tracking and approaching big 5 on foot is what the camp specialises in it was surprising that some guests arrived at the camp not knowing this and not being suited to or wanting that type of safari. We thought the balance between vehicle and walking activities was just right. We started the day in the vehicle, then got out to walk for a few hours, then returned to the vehicle to slowly drive back to camp. In the afternoon we did vehicle activities, apart from hopping out to quickly try and approach elephant and buffalo as we came across them on a couple of occasions.

With Alan we had excellent vehicle activities but also spent a lot of time walking. We walked up on several elephant and a buffalo, both intentionally and also when tracking something else and 'coming across' elephant as we walking. We tracked rhino, leopard and lion but unfortunately didn't catch up with them (we saw numerous lion from the vehicle). Just being out and trying to track the animal, and watching the guide and tracker as they interpret the tracks and sign, was a great experience although would of course have been better if it ended with a great sighting on foot. It gives us something to go back for.

At both camps I was very impressed by the 'learner' guides. They rotate between the camps. Despite the title of 'learner' I found them all to be very knowledgeable and experienced and had a lot to contribute. They are all qualified vehicle guides - they just can't lead walks by themselves. One of them joined our activities when they could to add another set of eyes. At the end of the day they were happy to sit around the camp fire and swap stories and were always leaping up to refill an empty glass.

There is a good sense of fun and adventure at the camp. One evening, less than five minutes before dinner as we sat around the camp fire with a glass of wine in hand, one of the guides came running over to say there were male lions just behind the camp. Everyone put there drinks down to pile into 2 of the vehicles and dash out to go and see them. After finding them and having a quick 10 minute sighting of males moving into a new territory we then returned to camp to pick up our drinks and have some late dinner. That kind of spontaneity was fun and contributed to the positive atmosphere at the camp.

If you want the pure safari and as much time out and about either in vehicle or on foot as possible with highly qualified guides then this is the place for you. We loved it."
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Hwange Bush Camp

Hwange Bush Camp

"Very comfortable tented camp"

4 nights Arrived 30 Sep 2019
"The tents are very comfortable. The main area of the tent has enough space for a double bed and bed side tables but not much more. There is then a storage area and bathroom complete with bucket shower. The showers can be ordered at any time, including as you return from a game drive so it is ready for when you return. We found the showers lasted plenty long enough. One thing to be aware of is the camp site is in quite an exposed position and can be very windy. This makes for a billowing and rustling tent at night which takes some getting used to for a light sleeper. We were advised that the winds were even stronger in the days before our arrival! The food at the camp was very good, but understandably simpler than at Camp Hwange.

The resident guide is Spike who we chatted to around camp but were guided by Alan who had come with us from Camp Hwange.

We did a lot of walking and focussed mainly on tracking lion which was the last thing on my list that I really wanted to do - approaching lion on foot. We were unsuccessful in finding them but we enjoyed tracking them and walking. We heard lions from camp on a couple of occasions during the night. The concentration of wildlife is less in this area of the park and what we did see was more nervous of the vehicle.

The main area of the camp is similar to that at Camp Hwange and very nice. Sitting around the fire with a glass of wine in the evenings is a great way to end the day."
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Victoria Falls Safari Club

Victoria Falls Safari Club

"Second stay"

2 nights Arrived 4 Oct 2019
"See the review of our first stay at the beginning of the holiday."
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Helicopter Flight - Zimbabwe

Helicopter Flight - Zimbabwe

"Helicopter Flight - Zimbabwe review"

5 Oct 2019 • Morning excursion

Excellent activity and offered great views of the falls. We also saw elephant and buffalo in the national park as we flew overhead. Everything is filmed and at the end the staff work hard to sell you the video which feels a bit of a tourist trap. The activity is very touristy but good fun.
Excellent
Ra-Ikane River Cruise

Ra-Ikane River Cruise

"Ra-Ikane River Cruise review"

5 Oct 2019 • All-day excursion

The cruise was excellent. We were served canapes and a very strong gin and tonic. On the cruise we saw elephant, crocodile and hippo and had lovely views of the river.
Excellent

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