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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs O from Somerset

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

13

Countries visited

5

Lodges stayed in

59

Excursions taken

0

Zimbabwe at Last

Zimbabwe between 25 Apr 2019 and 8 May 2019

Trip rating: Excellent
"We waited a very long time before taking the plunge and visiting Zimbabwe. What a revelation to find that despite everything, the national parks are thriving with the most wonderful birds and animals.

The lodge system as we saw it matches any we have experienced elsewhere and the guiding is absolutely second to none. There are wrinkles but they are minor and should not deter anyone from visiting this most beautiful of Southern African countries.

We have always had full confidence in Expert Africa and once again it all worked. Thank you."

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The Residence

"The Residence - Again"

1 night Arrived 26 Apr 2019
"We have now stayed at The Residence several times as our relax station before and after long overnight flights.

It is small, friendly, extremely comfortable, with excellent food and all that we need to unwind before tackling the next stage of our journey. We think the rooms have recently been upgraded and for this stay we were given a spacious suite with bath, indoor and out showers, jacuzzi and sauna. Moreover the veranda opened onto the swimming pool.

We had an early departure to Harare and they went out their way to prepare breakfast bags for us to eat in the car en route to the airport. A class act."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Ruckomechi Camp

Ruckomechi Camp

"Ruckomechi - A Lodge With A View"

5 nights Arrived 27 Apr 2019
"We were delayed arriving at Harare and then found no one to meet us. After searching, we decided to find the Domestic terminal ourselves where we eventually met up with our Wilderness Air pilot. Apparently those tasked to meet us had seen our delay from Johannesburg and decided to leave. We finally arrived at Mana West, hot and bothered. It was only Freddie's inclusion of the words '..and they will direct you to the Domestic Terminal...' that saved us considerable grief.

Ruckomechi is a standard Wilderness Classic camp set stunningly on the banks of the mighty Zambezi. With the mountains of Zambia across the river as a backdrop, it is one of the most beautiful places we have ever been privileged to stay. The deputy manager Michelle was running the camp for our whole stay and was both charming and super efficient. Nothing was too much trouble and she rapidly gripped issues while always being on hand if needed. Indeed, after saying how hot our room was she suggested and arranged a move to a beautifully shaded room after our first night. The food was the only question mark with delicious breakfasts, brunches and teas but less inspiring dinners eaten in dim lighting and served already plated. However, they not only remembered us as frequent Wilderness clients but also catered for Hilary's special dietary needs.

At Michelle's suggestion we undertook a day trip to see Mana Pools National Park and it was this that caused us the only serious niggle of our stay. I have dealt with the detail in a separate email but suffice to say here that guests who decide to take the same outing should ensure that Wilderness are fully confident how much the park office will charge them. However, we also query the benefit of such a trip. The drive crosses the Ruckomechi and Vundu concessions and then right across the top of the National Park as the office is on the far side. This is a long drive, especially if there are sightings, leaving little time to see much of the park before setting off on the return journey. Nonetheless, apart from the fees saga, we had a wonderful day trip.

Due to low occupancy we had a vehicle and guide to ourselves for the whole stay. Mundoga was superb - bright, cheerful, skilled and fun to be with he worked his socks off to ensure we saw everything there was to see. While we saw a few lions, we saw no other major cats but made up in spades with huge numbers of elephant, hippo and buffalo. The main sightings were an utter profusion of birds, many of which we had never seen.

We loved our stay at Ruckomechi and would return in an instant."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Camp Hwange

Camp Hwange

"Magnificent Camp Hwange"

4 nights Arrived 2 May 2019
"We were delighted when our departure from Ruckomechi to Camp Hwange was scheduled for 0700. At last a 206 flight in the cool and arrival in plenty of time to settle in before the afternoon activity. Like most good plans it fell at the first hurdle and our departure was delayed to 0900 and re-routed via Kariba where we met our planned aircraft. We spent most of an hour on the ground waiting for refuelling and paperwork and finally arrived at Robins Camp airstrip in the heat of the day with a 2 hour drive to Camp Hwange involving a vehicle change. Why we landed at Robins rather than Giraffe Springs which is only an hour from Camp Hwange defeats logic.

However, for our final run to the camp we were driven by Washington who was to be our guide for the full 4 nights. As with Ruckomechi we again had the vehicle and Washington to ourselves throughout. A wonderful guide and a real pleasure to be with he rapidly sensed that we are interested in any aspect of the bush and went out of his way to make sure we had a fully immersive experience. Well done Washington.

We chose not to do any of the much advertised walking as with only 3 full days we find walks rather restricted in terms of what might be seen. Our tactics paid off and we had some of the most exciting and fascinating sightings in 18 years of safari holidays. Tree climbing cheetah, 6 bull elephants playing like toddlers in a pond with hippo, wild dog etc etc etc. Truly wonderful photo opportunities in a fabulous landscape.

The accommodation is advertised as perhaps more rustic than is available elsewhere but we found it excellent with the bonus of a ceiling fan inside the mosquito net. Food was terrific and we enjoyed our time at Camp Hwange more than any we have stayed at in many years. We felt that the morning drive from 0630 to almost 1300 was stretching the schedule because from 1100 on it is becoming too hot for most animals and birds while the light is unhelpful for photography.

Overall Camp Hwange is a hard act to follow and we enjoyed the experience 110%."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
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The Residence

"The Residence review"

1 night Arrived 6 May 2019
"See inbound comment but a different room equally comfortable."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent

Western Cape 2018

South Africa between 28 Sep 2018 and 10 Oct 2018

Trip rating: Excellent
"As we have come to expect, the planning, booking and reservation process with Lucy was deceptively easy - for us.

We got exactly the holiday, the places and the dates we wanted. No hiccups, no poor advice and the whole exercise worked just as we wanted. We have lost count of the holidays Expert Africa have managed for us over 16 years but the record is impressive and we would not dream of going anywhere else for our Africa bookings. Thank you all, it is always a pleasure.

Once again we were able to meet Lucy for a drink(s) on our last evening at The Cape Grace - thank you again but next time it is our shout.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

No, the formula works wonderfully well. Don't fix it!"

Arranged By Lucy Copson


Farmhouse Hotel

Farmhouse Hotel

"Ideal Base for Visiting West Coast Reserve"

3 nights Arrived 28 Sep 2018
"Not quite like the web site as this elderly hotel is now surrounded by new housing developments that continue apace.

The hotel is comfortable, if a little tired, but the staff are an absolute delight. Our room was an upgrade from that booked but like most of the hotel a little tired - shabby chic plus? The food was acceptable if unexciting but the management of the catering arrangements needs serious attention.

To provide enough seating in one room for a large party and resident diners, we were all were moved from the comfortable and cosy dining room into the conservatory where breakfast is usually served. This is colder and more café like. However, it was clear that no kitchen planning had been done to cater for residents and the party, resulting in an hours wait for our food. After complaining I was offered a free dessert which I declined. Our food eventually arrived and we were given a 20% discount on our dinner.

Overall the kitchen was the weak link in this hotel. Uninspiring menu and a very slow kitchen. It just about ticks the box but only just."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Average
Rooms
Average
Food
Average
Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve

Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve

"Wilderness or Wellness?"

5 nights Arrived 1 Oct 2018
"We have given Bushman's an excellent rating because it is a truly beautiful lodge set in a stunning landscape. We were not put off with the offer of luxury as that is one of the reasons we chose it. However, we feel that while the owners aim for 5 star luxury, they fall short on the detail. It was a low occupancy week and therefore no real excuses.

Our beautiful cottage had curtains falling off the rails and a tap in the bathroom clearly seizing up and almost impossible to use. Maintenance was unable to repair it and had to order a replacement. A simple check between guests should have noted these faults. On our last morning the lodge wide ground sprinkler system had been reprogrammed for a camp schedule time change. It failed badly, no one checked and all the sprinklers came on full bore preventing us from leaving or returning to our room without a soaking.

Kitchen management and meal timing also fell well short of the 5 star aims. Constantly changing meal venues and clashes with a senior management meeting led to hiccups in service that should never have happened. We shared an exotic dinner event at a restored shepherds hut out in the reserve with the only other two guests at the lodge. It was a truly magical location and starlit evening but the chef cooked enough of all the offerings on the menu for an army then served it in a poorly lit place in the dining room where we could not see what we were eating. Moreover, the red meats were overcooked and too tough to cut. Overall the food was a disappointment with very small, barely noticeable daily changes to the dinner menu.

All that said, most of the staff were 101% focused on providing a memorable experience. We loved the game drives, walks and rock art excursions. Elsewhere in the world such rock art is given world heritage status and protection but here there are several sites within a short walk or drive.

Our guide Martin was a young, wonderfully knowledgeable, enthusiast who rapidly understood our love of all things natural and constantly provided us with totalling absorbing activities. I believe we saw all the wildlife, birds and flowers we could have reasonably expected and then more. Memorable experiences in a stunning place making the shortcomings more obvious. Needs work? NB The eland sightings were both of large herds of 30+ animals. Zebra usually more than 6 each time."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Average
Facilities
Good
Galenia Estate

Galenia Estate

"The Phoenix Risen"

3 nights Arrived 6 Oct 2018
"We visited Galenia in April 2017 based on location and a hope that the standards the Baileys set in Tanzania would be maintained here. They were and we absolutely loved it.

We re-booked for this year and heard, to our horror, it had been very badly damaged in a bush fire in February 2018. It is testament to this family run operation that their undertaking to rebuild during the closed season was achieved. We stayed in one of the new rooms, rebuilt in exactly 3 months, and unless you knew you would never have guessed it had risen from the ashes. The operation remains top class but we were a little optimistic to expect the birds would have returned after so much of the surrounding fynbos and woodland had been burned to the ground.

Nonetheless, we again loved our stay and even managed a swim. Apart from the charm and friendly efficiency of the staff the gold star was the cooking. By far the best of any of our stops, the daily changing menu was full of innovation and most excellent cooking. Bearing in mind the opposition includes Bushman's Kloof and The Cape Grace this is an outstanding place to stay, relax in great comfort and eat wonderfully well.

Should we return to Cape Town, Galenia will be a must. It is just too good to miss."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Cape Grace

Cape Grace

"The Cape Grace"

1 night Arrived 9 Oct 2018
"We managed to stay at the Grace in Rosebank several times when passing through Johannesburg. Sadly it closed so it was lovely to be back in the embrace of the assured charm and efficiency of the Grace team in Cape Town.

We were offered a beautiful room upgrade to one with a balcony overlooking both marina and mountain. They then helped arrange a late check out with little fuss and a nominal charge. We felt instantly at home and had two most excellent lunches and dinner.

The Cape Grace is a top class operation in a fabulous setting. We loved our stay."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent

Our New Style Africa Holiday

South Africa between 20 Mar 2017 and 1 Apr 2017

Trip rating: Excellent
"We were looking for a change from bashing around in off road vehicles while laced with Malarone. In Galenia we found exactly what we wanted and will return. Samara will need a replacement but we are sure that can be done. If not, we would be happy to spend the whole holiday in Galenia.

As ever, Expert Africa and Lucy provided the friendly, slick, efficient and professional help we have come to expect. It all worked wonderfully well and a real bonus was to be able to meet Lucy for a drink in Cape Town. We probably have a few more African holidays in the bag and this one set a great pattern."

Arranged By Lucy Copson


Galenia Estate

Galenia Estate

"Galenia Does What It Says on the Tin"

5 nights Arrived 21 Mar 2017
"Galenia is new and not yet on the Expert Africa list - it should be. We heard about it when searching for an alternative southern Africa holiday to replace our usual Botswana trips. We needed comfort, non malaria and somewhere to relax, watch birds and do what retired people do on holiday.

Run by the family that runs Beho Beho and The Oyster Bay Hotel in Tanzania, we expected similar standards and got them. Wonderfully comfortable cottages, a huge estate to wander in at will and sunbirds feeding on the honeysuckle outside our room was just what we wanted. Run by an extremely charming and professional staff, Galenia ticked all our boxes.

Although they only offered cold cuts and cheese for lunch it was all we needed and this winter they intend to extend the kitchen to be able to cater for those wanting a more extensive lunch menu. Set in a spectacular mountainous valley Galenia is a gem well worth investigating for either short or longer stays. We stayed 5 nights and plan to return as soon as we can."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Samara Karoo Lodge

Samara Karoo Lodge

"Samara - A Second Look"

4 nights Arrived 26 Mar 2017
"We last visited Samara in September 2008 when we remarked on a spectacular setting, excellent food and wonderfully comfortable rooms. We were less happy with the amount and general nervousness of the game and birds but were told this was because the reserve had only recently been converted from shooting to photographic safari.

Fast forward 9 years and if anything the game and birds are even more nervous with almost everything taking to the hills at the slightest sound of the vehicle. Moreover the lodge, rooms and food were very tired with urgently needed management attention.

Housekeeping was especially weak needing daily comment to the manager about quite basic failings. Room maintenance seemed to be left to the guests to note work required rather than being checked and rectified before we arrived. Samara is still a spectacular place to holiday but now needs urgent management attention to the lodge and food.

Whether anything can be done about the nerves of the birds and animals remains to be seen."
Average
Location
Excellent
Service
Poor
Activities
Poor
Rooms
Average
Food
Average
Facilities
Average
Hacklewood Hill Country House

Hacklewood Hill Country House

"Hacklewood Hill Country House review"

1 night Arrived 30 Mar 2017
"We arrived when the temperature was an unseasonal 41C and immediately fell for Hacklewood as it was cool, airy and charming.

Sadly we had a dinner date and did not take dinner with them but this is a lovely, comfortable place to stay in a quiet garden neighbourhood of Port Elizabeth."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Victoria & Alfred Hotel

Victoria & Alfred Hotel

"Victoria & Alfred Hotel review"

1 night Arrived 31 Mar 2017
"The V&A is located in what must be one of the most iconic places in Cape Town. Literally on the waterfront and provided one has booked a mountain view room, the views are spectacular.

That said the hotel itself is rather gloomy with a rampant interior designer determined to reflect the warehouse heritage in the décor. Raw concrete effect walls in our room and carpet designed to look like bare red brick. Compared with other guest houses and hotels in South Africa we found it depressingly 'modern smart hotel' with very little feel of genuine welcome. We felt that provided one did not look outside, it could have been anywhere.

We ate royally over the road in the restaurant of the small sister hotel The Victoria. Dash is reputed to be one of the 5 best restaurants in Cape Town. On our night, once we had found the front door (get detailed instructions!), the service, wine list and standard of food were excellent.

We used the secure concierge storage for our luggage as there was no late check out available. This worked well and we were able to explore the waterfront and take a boat trip. On balance a good stay."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Average

Autumn in the Okavango

Botswana between 25 Apr 2016 and 8 May 2016

Trip rating: Excellent
"Our trips with Expert Africa are now well into double figures and like all previous holidays this one was planned with care and great expertise.

There was not a single moment of doubt or worry in a busy itinerary and credit must be placed firmly with Megan. We have now reached the stage where we probably need to change our style and perhaps destination but if it is at all possible we will be asking Expert Africa to do the planning as they are simply the best in class. Very may thanks once again."

Arranged By Megan Green


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The Residence JNB

"The Residence JNB review"

1 night Arrived 26 Apr 2016
"We have now used this lovely small boutique hotel for our Johannesburg layovers several times. It has recently been extended but remains an oasis of calm in a beautiful tree lined area of the city.

The staff are always attentive, the food good and management will go out of their way to ensure your stay is as comfortable as they can make it. Worth a try if you need a Jburg hotel."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Little Vumbura

Little Vumbura

"Little Vumbura Visit 6"

3 nights Arrived 27 Apr 2016
"Little Vumbura remains one of our firm favourites and one of the 'must visit' lodges in the Okavango. Having requested Kaye as our guide we were delighted to spend another 3 days with him. He is one of the grand old men of Delta guiding and we greatly enjoy his company and knowledge.

Being constrained by space on the island to just 5 tents and surrounded by water, the camp ensures excellent contact with the other guests. Once again we made some good new friends. Oddly and for the first time in 6 visits we failed to see a single lion but were amply rewarded by the full range of Okavango sightings including treed leopard, buffalo writ large and a host of wonderful birds.

A lovely, small camp."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Jacana Camp

Jacana Camp

"Jacana Camp review"

3 nights Arrived 30 Apr 2016
"Another small camp surrounded by water and a glimpse of paradise within a natural wonder. We love Jacana and although it is undoubtedly a water camp we saw a wonderful array of game and wading birds during several game drives onto the Jao floodplain.

We had the most wonderful sighting of a pair of leopard cubs and wonder of wonders not one but two otter sightings; the first of a family of spot necked in the channel to the boat station and the second of a group of Cape clawless fishing in one of the permanent channels. The camp was run wonderfully well and one could not fault the enthusiasm and efficiency of the staff. Our guide Mr Bee produced everything there was to see and more.

A memorable third stay in a highly recommended camp."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Chitabe Lediba

Chitabe Lediba

"Chitabe Lediba Visit Three"

3 nights Arrived 3 May 2016
"Our final camp did not disappoint either. We had always had the most wonderful sightings at Lediba and this visit maintained the record. Lion and leopard everywhere we turned including very young lion and leopard cubs.

In addition we had a feast of a full range of hyena pups from the very young to teenagers and sub adults. At the other end of the spectrum we had wonderful sightings of dwarf, slender and banded mongoose. In between we had a black backed jackal that was clearly intent of auditioning, with hippo and buffalo to complete the caste.

An absolutely terrific three days made possible by our wonderful guide Luke and a fantastic staff to look after our every need at the lodge. We loved it."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
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The Residence JNB

"The Residence JNB review"

1 night Arrived 6 May 2016
"Just as good as the inbound stay but they have set aside a room for the use of guests wanting a late check out. Most thoughtful and typical of their approach."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent

Okavango Season 9

Botswana between 21 Sep 2014 and 5 Oct 2014

Trip rating: Excellent
"Our 9th trip to the Okavango and twelfth to Africa with Expert Africa. Many thousands of air miles and almost as many nights in safari lodges and never a foot wrong from this most excellent company. Thank you and for this trip a special thanks to Megan - again.

We had another wonderful holiday and our only concern was our stay at Tubu Tree. We knew it might no longer be to our liking but after two fantastic previous stays we simply had to try it again. Compared to the old small formula the new bigger camp does not really work for us.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

It is clear things are changing in the Okavango Delta.

Some examples are camps increasing the number of rooms, the distribution of general game and weed clogging channels and lagoons. There always were changes but recently they appear to be having more impact on the differences between camps and seasons. If the changes continue it will be more important than ever to bring them to the attention of clients when planning holidays."

Arranged By Megan Green


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The Residence

"The Residence Boutique Hotel"

1 night Arrived 22 Sep 2014
"We have now spent 4 transit stops at The Residence.

We find it warm, welcoming and pretty well just what we need after a long overnight flight or winding down from 9 or 10 nights of early calls and Land Rover massage.

It is just slightly faded and the menu has not changed since we began staying. Nonetheless, it meets our needs and the cooking is excellent. We will continue staying there until something better emerges!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Tubu Tree Camp

Tubu Tree Camp

"Big New Tubu Tree"

3 nights Arrived 23 Sep 2014
"After 2 previous visits to the old, small Tubu we returned to the enlarged camp with some trepidation. While we enjoyed our stay, our misgivings were confirmed. The doubling of the number of rooms on Hunda Island, a poor period for general game on the Jao floodplain and the presence of a large group in Tubu Tree insisting on privacy all led to an experience quite unlike the old small Tubu.

I will be addressing the issue of the large group in a separate e mail but we found their presence and insistence on privacy forced the rest of the guests to the unlit periphery of the dining room and into a single Land Rover for game drives. Once out on game drives, the presence on the island of Tubu, Little Tubu, Jao, Kwetsani and Jacana vehicles meant that most interesting sightings immediately attracted the permitted 3 vehicles plus a waiting list. This is not the exclusivity for which we have been happy to pay a premium.

Moreover, we suspect the presence on the island of a pair of male lions has spooked the resident leopards. We had one fleeting and one good sighting of leopard. The management, while warm and welcoming has become blurred and one was never quite sure who was in charge at any one time.

KG and Gloria are charming hosts and our guide Jo was huge fun albeit faced with a constantly changing, full or near full game drive load. We love Tubu and Hunda Island but will probably not return under the current arrangements."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Kwetsani Camp

Kwetsani Camp

"Kwetsani Visit 6"

3 nights Arrived 26 Sep 2014
"As witnessed by the number of times we have visited, we love Kwetsani. The rooms, the management and the staff combine to make this small camp one of the very best in the Delta. The resident pride of lions were centre stage of the game viewing but our guide Ras realised very quickly that we were interested in seeing all that was on offer and we had a mass of big, small and avian sightings that filled our 3 night stay.

The relief mangers Hank and Marelize were a joy. Always there but never pushy they run a wonderful camp that the resident managers Dan and Charmagne Myburg will feel has been in safe hands during their leave. We hope Hank and Marelize will still be at Jacana, their next appointment, when we next visit. It is sad to think that the wonderful thatched roofs of the rooms may be replaced by more durable material but doubt any such change would seriously affect the wonder of Kwestani.

Advice to Wilderness - TLC but don't change it!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Xigera Safari Lodge

Xigera Safari Lodge

"Xigera Visit 3"

3 nights Arrived 29 Sep 2014
"Another of our firm favourites in the Delta, Xigera manages to overcome most of the disadvantages of a large camp by being stunningly beautiful and a feast of birds. We had not been there at this time of year before and were disappointed that the water levels were too low to allow the usual all day boat cruise to Chief's Island or to visit some of the more remote lagoons and narrow channels.

Rather like the new Tubu, the management presence was rather confusing with a general manager and a number of deputies who seemed to carry out shifts of front of house duties. However, the camp runs reasonably well despite the odd failure to replace a missing wash basin plug or to carry out requests to light anti mosquito coils at turn down.

Our guide Dips was delightful and clearly a mover and shaker in the camp entertainment programme. A highlight was the discovery of an adult Pels Fishing owl plus juvenile in camp and photographable. A 12 year mission fulfilled! In contrast to the Tubu private group we coincided with a party of 6 Australian guests with their private birding guide. They were charming, joined in and made no negative impact whatsoever.

Interestingly, the general manager Johann told us that he was asking Wilderness to reduce the number of rooms at the camp as he feels the current 10 is 2 too many! We had a wonderful time at Xigera which included exuberant Independence Day celebrations. Huge fun and we are sure to return."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
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The Residence

"The Residence Replay"

2 nights Arrived 2 Oct 2014
"Apart from an excursion facilitated by the hotel we have little to add. However, they arranged a car and driver to take us an hour and a half out of the city for lunch at the Mount Grace.

The car and driver were excellent and the price entirely reasonable. This is a small hotel that understands customer care and delivers."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent

Our Eighth Trip to the Okavango

Botswana between 23 Apr 2014 and 7 May 2014

Trip rating: Excellent
"After a few self inflicted disappointments last year we returned to our well tried formula on this trip and had the most wonderful holiday. As usual the Expert Africa input was impeccable and the new Mrs Green, aka Megan, excelled. At no point were we left wondering where, what or when and knew that had anything gone wrong it would be sorted.

Almost without exception all the managers, staff, guides and boatmen who looked after us went out of their way to ensure that we had the best possible experience. It worked and we saw pretty much all that the Delta has to offer in relative comfort and with excellent food - even if it is delivered 8 times a day!

Another triumph for Expert Africa and Wilderness. Thank you.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

No. It aint broke so don't fix it!"

Arranged By Megan Green


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The Residence

"The Residence Boutique Hotel"

1 night Arrived 24 Apr 2014
"As Westcliff refugees we wondered how The Residence would compare. We should not have worried. This small hotel is cosy, welcoming and just the place to relax after a long night flight or 2 weeks of being roused at 0530 and bone shaken round the bush. We loved it and will be going back.

Good, comfortable rooms with all the goodies, 2 pools one of which is heated and real fires when the weather is cold. Excellent food and wonderfully attentive service. The Residence ticks all the boxes for us."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Chitabe Lediba

Chitabe Lediba

"Chitabe Lediba - Visit Two"

3 nights Arrived 25 Apr 2014
"After our last visit to Chitabe Lediba we commented that it seemed more like a reserve for the main camp than a lodge in its own right. This time there was no hint of little brother and we absolutely loved our time there.

All the staff, from the managers to housekeepers were always smiling, friendly and clearly bent on making our stay completely memorable. They succeeded. The game drives were first rate largely due to the skills and hard work of our guide OD. If it was there to be seen we saw it. The highlights were a feast of birds, 2 pairs of mating lions, leopard writ large and no less than 5 cheetah.

To top it off we had the most amazing sighting of a family of dwarf mongoose that posed like professionals. The food was good and the rooms huge and well equipped. This is a camp to keep going back to. All credit to the managers Kay and Six. Marvellous."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Jacana Camp

Jacana Camp

"Jacan - Also Visit Two"

3 nights Arrived 30 Apr 2014
"This was also a second visit but our first since the rebuild. The new rooms are spacious, comfortable and very well equipped. As a break from the dryer camps Jacana is a gem, offering great water activities in addition to game drives on the Jao flood plain.

We had a wonderful 3 nights here largely due to the hugely successful management team of William and Angie combined with the amazing skills of our guide TH. We also met Renco again for whom nothing is ever too difficult. Although the team made great efforts to show us Pels and Sitatunga, we only managed a fleeting glimpse of the elusive fishing owl and not a hint of the even shyer water antelope. However, there is always something new; we saw and photographed Temmincks Courser which neither we nor our guide had seen before.

More importantly, after 12 years of trying, I managed decent pictures of the extremely shy Rufous Bellied Heron. Hooray! Despite the emphasis on water activities we also managed wonderful lion sightings of the Kwetsani pride with 5 cubs and a whole range of antelope and fantastic birds. Jacana is a very special and beautiful camp. Try it."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Little Vumbura

Little Vumbura

"Fifth Visit to Little Vumbura"

4 nights Arrived 3 May 2014
"Little Vumbura remains a very special place for us and this fifth visit did not disappoint. It remains comfortable, intimate, friendly and on this occasion the food was by far the best of all three camps we visited. There were niggling housekeeping and service errors but these were greatly outweighed by the game drives and boat rides we had.

Tsessebe 'making up' in a mud wallow, sable 'in flagrante', lion galore, wild dog, 2 hyena females each with twin pups and a first sighting of the uncommon white headed vulture. All this set in the most wonderful golden light that one gets at this time of year.

Our guide was Rain, a highly accomplished, educated and amusing companion on all our game drives. We were also privileged to meet up again with Madala Kay who had been our guide on our last Little Vumbura visit. One of the great men of the delta.

Little Vumbura is a very beautiful place but the change in the reed cover in the area has restricted the boat rides which used to be a key feature of the camp. Nonetheless the game drives amply overcome this limitation and we can happily recommend the camp as a truly memorable experience."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
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The Residence

"The Residence review"

1 night Arrived 7 May 2014
"Just as good as on the way out!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent

Our Tenth Trip with Expert Africa

Botswana between 13 Apr 2013 and 24 Apr 2013

Trip rating: Excellent
"Any limitations with this trip were entirely of our own making. We have been travelling to Botswana for long enough to know what works and what is less to our liking. The planning done for us by Megan was exemplary. It worked like a dream and we were confident that had anything gone wrong it would be 'sorted'.

Overall we had yet another magnificent holiday marred only by a guide who has probably been in situ for too long. The pity is that he is the 'best friend' of our guide at Savuti who was first class. Similar seasonal difficulties but very different outcomes.

We have 4 observations that may help future planning:

a. Wilderness red meat. At the prices they charge they simply cannot continue to serve guests meat that cannot be cut let alone chewed. Can expert Africa please ask them what is going on?

b. Approaching 73 I am the last person to make ageist remarks but at Sandibe we were teamed in the vehicle with a Belgian man accompanied by his 88 year old mother. She was remarkable but had severe mobility problems, especially entering and leaving the vehicle. Perhaps camps should make special arrangements for such guests? I hope so, as I might be using them in the future!

c. Newsletters. We like to browse the Wilderness web site before travel to see what is going on in the camps we are to visit and get a flavour of the state of the annual flood etc. This year, up, to the time we left in mid April, there was not a single Savuti their news reports but unless they are recent they are useless.

d. Room Increases. There have been one or two reports of camps increasing the number of rooms. As old Okavango hands we have been willing to pay premium prices as we have been assured of very low guest numbers and the exclusivity that goes with it. If the Delta is to become as crowded as some other safari destinations it will be difficult to maintain exclusive prices. A number of fellow travellers expressed just this sentiment this time.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

Nothing further to add. We will be contacting you for 2014 very soon!"

Feedback response

We were delighted to hear that, despite some less than perfect aspects, these travellers had yet another superb trip to Botswana. However, such honest feedback is vital and so we forwarded their comments to the camps and lodges concerned.

These travellers found the meat at Savuti tough and difficult to cut. The camp were very sorry to hear this, especially as they told Expert Africa they tenderise the steaks before grilling them. However, they discovered that they did forget to set the table with steak knives. They assured Expert Africa that their meat supplier has been contacted and they will be keeping an eye on the meat supply to ensure that the cuts are of high grade.

Sandibe appreciated the suggestions from these travellers regarding older travellers, and say that they will take them into consideration. After addressing the issues about their guide with the lodge, Expert Africa and these travellers are assured that this is being investigated and addressed.

Sandibe have just recently announced that they lodge will be rebuilt next year. Expert Africa joins these travellers in their sentiment and will be visiting the lodge once the work is completed, for an update and to see for ourselves what impact the changes have made. In the meantime, Expert Africa will update the webpage as we learn more about the plans.

Arranged By Megan Green


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Westcliff Hotel

"Westcliff Hotel review"

1 night Arrived 14 Apr 2013
"We are so grateful that Expert Africa recommended the Westcliff to us in 2012. We love it and it perfectly serves our purpose of recovering from the insertion to Africa via the overnight BA flight and exfiltration from the Delta via game drive, Cessna and Air Botswana.

The hotel, its facilities, restaurants and staff are all exactly as it says on the box. In 2012 they noted it was my wife's birthday and left a card and chocolates in the room. This year they remembered again (no Data protection Act!) rewarding us with champagne and a room upgrade.

Many other places have much to learn about customer service from the Westcliff. We will be going again."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Savuti Camp

Savuti Camp

"Savuti- A Preview of Paradise?"

4 nights Arrived 15 Apr 2013
"After many visits to the Okavango with Expert Africa this was our first visit to the Kwando/Linyanti area. We chose Savuti as it met our usual requirements of small, Wilderness Safaris Classic. The publicity photos do it little justice as most are taken of the camp looking in whereas the major impact on arrival is from the camp looking out. The site is simply stunning now that the Savute Channel is flowing again.

We were warned that the changed environment and expanse of mopane forest somewhat limits the game viewing but that overlooked the skills of our guide Ace. He worked tirelessly to seek out all that there was and provided us with great sightings of big game, small game, birds and insects galore.

Our room was huge and, perched on the edge of the channel, had a view to die for. The staff are a delight and the management, courtesy of Abbie and Small Ben served up a continual stream of surprise dinners and lunches. The traditional evening in the boma was an absolute triumph of fantastic song and dance. We were extremely lucky in that our guide was an 'extra' while we were there so we effectively had a private vehicle for the full 4 days. This was the Wilderness Classic experience in spades and reinforced our view that their formula is spot on as a balanced safari holiday experience. They 'know how to do it'.

Two areas slightly worried us. The first was a curious absence of management at dinner. In most other Wilderness camps it is normal for at least one of the managers to dine with the guests but I do not think that either Abbie or Ben dined with us on any of our 4 nights. Had they joined us our second gripe might have been avoided? This was a depressing repeat of the tough, almost uncuttable meat we experienced with Wilderness last year. As we report later and as we know from previous experience with Wilderness, this need not happen. Someone in the Wilderness chain of command really must address this issue and soon. We hope that our fellow guests, who also experienced this, make the effort to complain. I certainly did on my camp questionnaire before we left.

However, none of these criticisms should put others off Savuti. It is a gem and the staff really make it work. Given decent meat it would be right up there with the very best."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Average
Facilities
Excellent
Sandibe Safari Lodge

Sandibe Safari Lodge

"Sandibe - A Return Visit After 11 Years"

4 nights Arrived 19 Apr 2013
"We last visited Sandibe in 2002 and it was the first camp of our first safari holiday. The camp is unchanged but is now in need of some TLC. We understand it is to be pulled down in 2014 and replaced by rooms on stilts as is common across much of the Delta. This may explain the reluctance to carry out renovation work. Sadly they also intend to greatly increase the number of rooms to 15. In our view this will destroy the intimacy and exclusivity of the current formula and we will not return to such a large camp. The concession is already shared with Chitabe and Chitabe Lediba and the extra rooms may result in crowded game drives.

Our stay was a curates egg - excellent in parts. The management, staff and day to day organization were wonderful. The And Beyond practice of allocating guests a personal team of guide, butler and housekeeper was new to us and in camp worked brilliantly. Judy our 'butler' was just perfect. Always smiling, always there when needed and nothing was ever too much trouble. Mmaajo (?) our housekeeper was largely invisible but our room was always 'put back in order' whenever we left it for long enough! One negative aspect of the rooms is a lack of an inside shower. It was unseasonably cold and showering outside became a challenge!

The less perfect member of the team was our guide Gee. We began well enough but it became clear that he had his own agenda which seemed to be driven by an urge to track lion, leopard or dogs interminably and often resulting in anything else en route being given no more than cursory attention. Half way through our stay we were joined by another British couple who had also been taking safari holidays for many years. Gee made no attempt to find out what we wanted to do and became truculent when we made it clear that we were not interested in another fruitless hunt for a pride of lions we had already seen at length twice. On our final morning we had a different guide to take us to the airstrip via a short game drive. Gee had already been out for some hours and when our guide radioed him to ask if he had any sightings his reply was 'Yes, lots.' He made no attempt to pass on sightings or locations, most of which he had made along the route he knew we were taking. When our new guide made a remarkable siting of wild dog he immediately passed it on to Gee. He replied 'Oh yes we saw those there early this morning'!!

Gee said that he had been at Sandibe for 13 years. We suspect this is too long and he has become complacent. The major exciting sighting of a very recent lion kill was made almost entirely by luck. He and the tracker were once again out of the vehicle inspecting leopard spoor when we heard the kill take place close by in thick bush. Had we been driving we would not have heard it. Gee later attributed the sighting to his use of tracking skills and knowledge of nature. A second sighting of the same pride was also pure luck as they walked out of the bush 20 metres from where our team were changing a tyre!

This was an unhappy experience for us balanced only by the efforts of the camp management to bombard us with the most marvellous food in wonderful bush, deck and boma settings. Wilderness please note - not a single instance of tough meat at any time! Aaron and Skipper were marvellous managers but we do not favour the And Beyond practice of separate dining. We find it unnecessarily divisive.

On balance Sandibe seems to have concentrated on the hotel aspects of the experience to the detriment of the game viewing. Witness the availability of a personal butler, housekeeper, masseuse and WiFi. If they are to increase to 15 rooms they will have to address the guiding and revitalise the game drives whatever the season. We also learned that there was plenty of water to operate the electric boat but it had been discontinued/moved as it was 'too slow' and vulnerable to hippo. If the latter is true it must also be true at the camp it has been moved to? More misguided guide influence? Despite the guiding experience we loved our stay but will not return."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Average
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
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Westcliff Hotel

"Westcliff Hotel review"

1 night Arrived 23 Apr 2013
"Nothing further to report. It was excellent on both occasions.

[Ed: see the review of their stay at the start of this holiday, below]"
Excellent

The Okavango Delta - Season 7

Botswana between 26 Apr 2012 and 7 May 2012

Trip rating: Excellent
"Our seventh trip to the Okavango and ninth to Africa with Expert Africa. Another epic holiday and another singular example of the result of excellent planning by a team who care and know what they are doing. Our 2013 trip is well into planning. This time we met a number of other guests who had travelled without the benefit of such expert guidance. Many were unprepared, ill equipped and even without essential mandatory inoculations. We gave out a number of your cards!

Thank you again for another fantastic holiday and we only regret that the onset of age may eventually remove us from your mailing list. Meanwhile we will keep spending the kids inheritance!!

For prospective travellers, listen to Expert Africa.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

Not this time!"

Arranged By Megan Green


Little Vumbura

Little Vumbura

"An Island Gem"

3 nights Arrived 26 Apr 2012
"This was probably our fourth visit to Little Vumbura in 10 years and once again it lived up to expectations in every respect. The intimacy provided by being in a camp only accessible by boat is still very real and coupled with the 'small camp' feel makes it very special indeed.

Everything worked; the rooms, the staff, the food and the guiding were all special. Knowing we had just fallen out of a mind numbing journey, a gentle boat trip to a spectacular sundowner via hippo, malachite and crocodile was exactly what we needed as our first activity. Such is the professionalism of the Little V team, that it was fed to us by osmosis so that we thought it was our own idea!

A special thanks needs to go to Kay our guide. He is, like all his fellow guides in Wilderness, a consummate professional. We saw all that there was to see with the highlights being no less than two herds of sable with enchanting young and hunting wild dogs returned that day from an absence of 2 months. However the absolute icing on the cake was the utterly awesome (in the true sense of the word rather than the modern excuse for poor vocabulary) sight of the coalition of 4 mature, male brother lions currently dominating the Vumbura concession. Their total disdain of any potential competition is palpable and to see them focused and acting as a well drilled team on a buffalo hunt was mesmerising. We felt especially privileged.

Do we recommend Little Vumbura? Oh yes, very strongly."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kwetsani Camp

Kwetsani Camp

"The Jewel of NG25"

3 nights Arrived 29 Apr 2012
"We believe this was our fifth visit to Kwetsani and it remains our favourite. Despite the limitations on game drives imposed by the rising annual flood, we absolutely loved our 3 nights in this wonderful Classic Wilderness camp. The rooms are exceptional, the ambiance just perfect and we were, as ever, looked after royally by a professional and attentive staff. The food was varied and despite the remoteness, of a consistently high standard.

Our guide Ronald has an infectious sense of humour but this belies an uncanny ability to seek out the most elusive sightings. It was with him that we began our relationship with the Hunda leopards which was to continue unabated for the next 6 days. He instinctively understood our wish to see and talk about everything, going out of his way to explain and describe all that we were seeing. A great guide.

Management was outstanding, starting with Dan and Charmaine Myberg the senior managers for the 3 Classic camps in the concession. They looked after us wonderfuly well while clearly being 'in charge' of every aspect of the delivery of service. For our last day the resident management team of Annelize and Bradley seamlessly resumed control.

Our fondness for Kwetsani remains intact but we have one single niggle. On previous visits during the annual flood we have been taken on game drives onto and around the Kwetsani island and local flood plain. Previous guides delighted in describing the activity as 'swimmin safari'! The practice now seems to have been stopped because there have been instances of vehicles becoming stuck or 'drowned' elsewhere in the concession. This was always the case and was, in the past, taken as one of the hazards of holidaying in NG25. We have personally experienced it twice from Kwetsani with little or no lasting effect. Perhaps the new policy is a slight overreaction and one misses some great birding opportunities. Still, a niggle, and this remains a great camp."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Tubu Tree Camp

Tubu Tree Camp

"Second Visit to a Great Camp"

4 nights Arrived 2 May 2012
"Tubu was a surprise star of our 2010 holiday in the Delta and we were not disappointed by our second visit. Hunda island in April/May is a paradise for game, birds and every aspect of plant and insect life of the delta. The camp is small, intimate, well laid out and wonderfully well run - with a single exception.

To celebrate a special birthday we spent 4 nights here and loved almost every moment. We had saved by getting our long haul flights using air miles and some of the saving was used to have a private guide and vehicle for the duration. The ultimate privilege and we were blessed with a senior and outstanding guide, GT, shipped over from the Premier camp at Jao. The flexibility this allowed us was fantastic and we had 3 full days plus 2 half days of the most exceptional game drives. We saw leopard in a tree, leopard on a termite mound, leopard on a fallen tree and leopard, leopard leopard..... In addition Hunda was teeming with several breeding herds of elephant and exceptional bird sightings at every turn.

Hein and Eloise are a charming, energetic and most likable couple soon to be married. They run the camp like true professionals but seem to have a minor blind spot with the catering. Breakfast, brunch, teas and sundowner nibbles were great but almost every dinner was a disappointment with often meat that was uncuttable/unchewable, over spiced or had not had the small bones removed. Is there a problem in the kitchen they are unable to solve or does it need more hands on quality control? Since they sat down to eat with us every evening they must have known guests were having problems. We very much hope the 'system' can help them solve this problem because, in every other respect, Tubu is a brilliantly well run camp that we will go back to. Is the burden of also being the concession supply center distracting the management from getting their own camp fully 100%?"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Average
Facilities
Excellent
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The Westcliff

"A Hotel With a Difference"

1 night Arrived 6 May 2012
"The Westcliff was originally built as an overpriced collection of town houses rambling up a cliff side overlooking one of the most attractive parts of Johannesburg and converting it to a hotel was an inspiration. Instead of a single large building, all the rooms are in buildings perched on the side of a cliff and linked by a winding road served constantly by a shuttle car service. In addition there is an abundance of flowers, shrubs and trees to create an atmosphere of being in a garden suburb of exclusive houses rather than a hotel. Despite there being an unforgivable 'kitchen incident' during the single dinner we had there, the whole experience was one of luxury and excellence. We already plan to return - twice! Lunch in the sun, on the terrace beside the infinity pool at the top of the cliff was an unforgettable conclusion to our 2012 African holiday."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent

A First Tanzania Safari

Tanzania between 8 Jan 2011 and 21 Jan 2011

Trip rating: Good
"I suspect our main problem is having been spoiled by too many Botswana holidays. Tanzania was quite beautiful; 2 of the camps were pretty well spot on as advertised but choosing Manze was our mistake and made against Liz's advice. Overall, the bird and game sightings were excellent, bearing in mind it should have been wet with lush vegetation. In effect the Selous and Ruaha were having a mini dry season and we benefitted greatly from it, albeit with some pretty savage humidity at times.

We were privileged in having Kwihala and Beho Beho totally to ourselves and were looked after royally in both camps. Both delivered top notch guiding and everything that there was to see, we saw. We were a little disappointed in the park rules for Ruaha and the impact that nearby shooting in Selous and poaching in both reserves is having on game and bird behaviour. Unusually I collected a small portfolio of photos of damaged animals. Coastal is a bit chaotic and BA really needs to review the standard and scheduling of catering on the return flight from Dar.

On balance we had yet another great holiday thanks to Liz and Expert Africa.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

In respect of this holiday, the information on Kwihala will need a major update after the move and improvements this spring and I suggest potential clients should be told of the off road and driving in the dark restrictions that are imposed in Ruaha.

Coastal's 'flexible' scheduling may also need to be considered for clients with tight schedules."

Arranged By Elizabeth Chapman


Lake Manze Adventure Camp

Lake Manze Adventure Camp

"Lake Manze - Ouch!"

2 nights Arrived 9 Jan 2011
"Lake Manze earns a Good because of the high quality and quantity of sightings in such a short time. Liz warned us that the camp was not our 'usual choice' but the lack of light and fans in the tents during a period of unseasonal heat and humidity proved extremely uncomfortable and in no way 'romantic' as described by a male Australian fellow guest!

The food was average and the random, management directed seating at main meals served only to separate us from other guests we might have chosen to sit with if left to our own devices. We knew drinks were extra but bottled water was also charged for when the alternative of 'filtered and boiled' lake water was barely drinkable. It was also irritating, when faced with a difficult tipping situation of 3 'guide, driver, boatman' recipients over 2 airstrip runs, one drive and 2 boat trips, to be told by the guide that I 'should have read the instructions in the room' and tipped him directly rather than my solution of a single tip in the box for the manager to share fairly. Poor judgement by us not to take Expert Africa advice.

We did not enjoy our stay. As has been reported by a number of other Expert Africa clients, this camp seems designed to serve the 1 or 2 night safari 'adventure' needs of Zanzibar holidaymakers."
Good
Location
Average
Service
Average
Activities
Good
Rooms
Poor
Food
Average
Facilities
Poor
Kwihala Camp

Kwihala Camp

"Lion Free Kwihala"

4 nights Arrived 11 Jan 2011
"We arrived at Kwihala still sweating from 2 nights at Lake Manze. It was still unseasonally hot but the extra altitude reduced the humidity, cooled the nights and actually allowed sleeping under a light cover. The electric lights and charging facility in the tents were wonderful and the bucket shower worked well, albeit we suffered black, muddy water from the taps for an hour or two as a water tanker delivery had stirred up the mud in the camp tank!

We were the only guests for all 4 nights and so had the very best of guiding from Marius and Festo. We did actually earn the record of their first ever guests not to see lion! Despite our best efforts neither of our guides seemed to believe that having seen 20 lion in a 2 night stay at Manze, we were completely unconcerned.

For the record we learned that Kwihala received its Permanent Site permit the day we arrived. They intend to move to a better site 700 metres away and to sink a bore hole to supply much needed water without relying on tanker deliveries. They were unsure what other infrastructure improvements the Italian owner intends although he is reported to be determined to retain the current luxurious simplicity.

The food, wine and service were excellent throughout and the simple addition of a fan in the tent for the hot afternoon siesta would have perfected the picture.

I am unsure if it was hidden away in the camp description but we were disappointed that, as Ruaha is a National Park, no off road driving is allowed to follow up sightings. In addition game drives were officially limited to the hours between 0700 and 1900. This was particularly galling as our guides responsibly followed the rules while other lodges did not. That said the fabulous expertise of our guides and Marius's shared enthusiasm for photography of anything and everything delivered a wonderful 4 days of great sightings.

Despite the off road restrictions and sometimes crippling heat we loved our time at Kwihala. A testament to the expertise and enthusiasm of our great hosts."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Beho Beho

Beho Beho

"Beho Beho - A fabulous birthday venue"

5 nights Arrived 15 Jan 2011
"Out of the relative cool of Ruaha we arrived back in the Selous to another empty camp - apart from us and the wonderful staff! 5 fabulous days as the single focus of the entire staff. Birthdays do not get much better!

Fabulous thatched bandas with a wash basin each and fans to ward off the continuing heat and humidity. If that was not enough, there was always the swimming pool to relax in with an ice cold Tusker or G&T! Sacha, Tamlyn, Mr Simba, Clarence and the dynamic guiding duo of Onesmo and Heribert proved to be a perfect formula for a perfect safari holiday.

We saw all that was available, including lion having a 'domestic', tiny cubs and with Heribert, we found the wild dog pack that had been 'missing' for some time. The birds were awesome with great sightings of carmine bee eaters and a huge number of eagles and other raptors. The 5 hour walk in the heat on my birthday was an experience never to be forgotten.

Beho Beho may seem to be over the top to some but despite being the lap of luxury it still delivers a real safari experience. We loved it and were fortunate to meet Charlie Bayley the larger than life owner out from the UK to supervise the off season improvements. Meeting Charlie explains how Beho Beho can combine all the ingredients of safari without pointless discomfort. A truly sensational end to our holiday."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Oyster Bay

Oyster Bay

"Oyster Bay and another meeting with Charlie"

1 night Arrived 20 Jan 2011
"Stumbling out of the domestic terminal at Dar airport an hour late it was wonderful to be met by Chohan with an air conditioned minibus, cold towels and a cold drink. The drive through rush hour Dar was instructive and reminded us to review our life insurance!

Oyster Bay is another reflection of Charlie Bayley's talent for getting it right. Boutique it may be but it runs like clockwork, service is impeccable and Meretha a fabulous hostess. Sadly our stay was short but just about perfect as a round off to a great holiday."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent

Okavango Delta Visit 5

Botswana between 1 Sep 2010 and 16 Sep 2010

Trip rating: Excellent
"Anyone who can put up with being fed 6 times a day, bone shaken in a Landrover or baked in the sun in a motorboat/mokoro must be mad but we keep going back because we absolutely love it. Expert Africa's planning and execution were, as ever, faultless. Any criticisms of the camps must be viewed in the light of consistently high standards across the board and are made when things are 99.9% rather than 101%.

This was the first time we had noticed a significant difference between the Wilderness Classic camps in tems of room size and facilities. It might be worth making this point in the brochure. People will still go because each camp has its unique charm or attraction.

This year was special because the annual flood was so high that there was still considerable water in places normally dry in September and a lot of the big game has moved. Is it worth considering bringing major weather/natural events to client attention in time for them to perhaps change their itinerary? We planned wet, dry, wet, dry and were not disappointed but we met a number of guests (not Expert Africa) who were deeply disappointed that they had been expecting the big 5 and had to be satisfied with mostly birds.

We had another 5 star holiday. Thank you. In overview, both Xigera and Tubu Tree feted us with extra activities. Jacana had none, not even a traditional evening while the 4 nights ay Chitabe Lediba provided just a traditional evening. Interesting contrast reflecting management styles?"

Arranged By Lucy Copson


Xigera Safari Lodge

Xigera Safari Lodge

"A Heronry with Attached Safari Lodge"

3 nights Arrived 2 Sep 2010
"We visited Xigera about 6 years ago but it was spoiled by inappropriate malarial treatment - the one that makes the skin sun sensitive! This was a return visit to do all the things we missed last time.

What a treat to find Ann and Mike in residence as managers. We met them when they were running Kwetsani 2 years ago. A truly professional team determined to make the best possible use of all their natural and human resources. The camp runs like clockwork and we were in no doubt that all their efforts were to ensure we had the best holiday ever. It worked.

We knew this was a water camp but the team also managed to fit in several game drives despite the unseasonally high water levels. Teko is a guide of unrivalled experience of the Xigera area and he did us proud. The absolute highlight was the afternoon boat ride to the heronry. A completely magical place and a must for any September visitors who appreciate birds. A water camp par exellence run by a great team. We loved it."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Tubu Tree Camp

Tubu Tree Camp

"Tubu - Where All the Game Is"

3 nights Arrived 5 Sep 2010
"Another wonderfully run camp. Jackie and Justin are young, imaginative and enthusiastic, delivering a great surprise treat to the guests every day. This great formula, added to the almost wall to wall game on Hunde Island this year, produced a holiday that will never be forgotten.

Surprise bush lunch, surprise bush dinner and a truly memorable traditional evening all combined to great effect. On top of this Izzy managed to find leopard, lion with cubs and even a group of dagga boy Cape buffalos running through water for us to add to the fantastic September birds. We will definitely go back."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Jacana Camp

Jacana Camp

"A Lovely Small Water Camp"

3 nights Arrived 8 Sep 2010
"I thinks small best describes Jacana. Small island, small rooms and on this occasion due to the flood, small game viewing opportunities in the Jao Concession. It had all gone to Tubu! Nonetheless we loved our time at Jacana because we managed a drive to the Hamerkop Bridge on the Kwetsani road and caught a late afternoon bird extravaganza. One of the very best photographic sessions I have ever had. Pity my skills let me down!

Used to a pretty consistent Wilderness Classic standard throughout the Delta we were surprised to find the Jacana rooms definitely 'cosier' than any we had previously stayed in. Some might be unkind and decribe them as cramped. Moreover, it was disconcerting to have to go outside the netted area to use the almost open air loo during the night. In addition, and we know this has been remarked on before, the open plan nature of the bathroom whereby there is a single room for basin, shower and lavatory is downmarket compared to most Classic facilities.

The other guests during our time presented a challenge to the management - 5 Sri Lanken doctors followed by 4 Ukranian adventurers complete with personal aeroplane and pilot/guide. Danielle was poised, efficient and charming at all times and none of our disparate band was ever wanting for anything. A class act. Our guide Timothy was a delight and even beat the challenge we set him by finding us a sitatunga, plus baby, on the first morning. A wonderful wet camp experience that would benefit from the accomodation being brought up to the standard of other Classic camps.

A final point was that we were surprised that none of the motor boats had canopies as they have at Xigera. We were fine ex UK summer but later in the season I imagine it may be a challenge for those arriving direct from a European winter."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Average
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Chitabe Lediba

Chitabe Lediba

"Chitabe Lediba or Chitabe Minor?"

4 nights Arrived 11 Sep 2010
"Our final camp on which we lavished 4 nights. Game viewing was outstandingly good and the, incomplete, list of wonders included mating leopards, parent and young giant eagle owl in daylight, mud bathing bull elephant, a fresh lion kill, bat eared foxes and several hyenas......... In addition the bird photography opportunities were fantastic. However, like Jacana, the rooms are small by Classic standards and again the bathroom was open plan with a singe basin. One consolation was that it was in the netted area. They are to be updated this winter but to what?

A major missing item was a universal charging point in the room. There was a socket but to neither UK nor South African standard. This limitation is overcome in other camps by providing a universal adapter in each room as was available in the central lounge area. Our main criticism lies with the seeming subordinate nature of the camp to Chitabe Main. Our managers seemed to come and go. I think we had 4 in our 4 days. In addition Main seemed to be short of guides so our guide spent a lot of time popping into Main to pick up and deliver 2 guests who had no guide. One of the reasons we choose the smaller camps is that one seldom has 6 people in the Landrover. 10 guests means at least 2 guides for the camp and in theory never more than 5 in the vehicle. Due to the Main camp refugees we had 6 in our vehicle for most of our 4 days. Irritating with constant safety briefings and waiting for late comers but since the guides were not available not a matter for on the spot complaint. Lediba is sold as an idependant entity. We felt it is being treated as a reserve facility for Main camp.

Throughout all this Anthony was a terrific guide. We missed nothing and he is one of the best."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
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The Grace, South Africa (this camp has since closed)

"The Grace"

1 night Arrived 15 Sep 2010
"We love the Grace but are becoming concerned about the early morning traffic noise and difficulty of ploughing through rush hour to and from Oliver Tambo. On this occasion my wife was stung several times by a scorpion at breakfast when it decided to explore the leg of her jeans. Origin of the beast is unknown.

The management provided in house medical assistance - at a price - but it did take 35 minutes to arrive. I was on the point of asking for a car to a hospital when he turned up. He denied any previous experience of scorpions in Johannesburg whereas our lunchtime waitress, a J'burg resident since childhood, said they were in her bathroom regularly?

We again had a mix up over the car returning us to OT on our departure day. Apparently is was all fixed by Africa Travel Canvas and the Grace travel desk but they neither informed us about the arrangements nor the front desk. It needs tying down."
Excellent
Location
Average
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent

Another Great Holiday by Expert Africa

Namibia between 2 Sep 2009 and 14 Sep 2009

Trip rating: Excellent
"We have travelled to Botswana and South Africa with Expert Africa 6 times now and are already planning our 2010 edition. This was another example of how to tailor a holiday for clients ensuring that they have the holiday that suits them.

More used to Botswana there were differences but while we could not see all of Namibia in the time available Sabina ensured what we did see was the best available. We had numerous experiences in our short stay in this amazing country - mountains, desert, classic mopane bush and high veldt. We saw so many wonderful animals and birds and were looked after quite royally. Another terrific holiday.

Thank you and we look forward to you looking after us many more times in the future.

Suggestions for improvements:

We think the Expert Africa product is second to none and we never fail to sell you to people interested in Africa. We have already mailed you about the outstanding co-ordination you set up to re-arrange our flights home when we were fogged in in Damaraland. Just what we have come to expect of a great company. As to Namibia just a few general observations:

Can you ask Wilderness Safaris to see if they can dissuade their camp managers from always feeling they have to talk to us if we are alone. Sometimes it is nice just to sit and enjoy the place in peace and quiet.

Wilderness and Okonjima in Namibia seem to overlook the added value to a game drive of stopping for morning coffee. Works in the Okavango why not in Namibia?

Finally, it might be worth reminding travellers to Namibia that much of the north of the country is several thousand feet above sea level with very low humidity. Plays havoc with sensitive sinuses but makes one very fit!!"

Arranged By Sabina Hekandjo


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Kulala Wilderness Camp, Namibia (this camp has since closed)

"Two Nights on Iron Mountain"

2 nights Arrived 3 Sep 2009
"We deliberately chose Kulala Wilderness camp as we prefer not to be on top of the main attraction - in this case the famous dunes. We also selected a Wilderness Safaris camp since we know from previous experience that the level of service is consistent across all their camps. We were not disappointed.

The dunes and Dead Vlei visit was wonderfully memorable, due in great part to the efforts of our guide Richard. He then fixed a fantastic picnic lunch in the shade of a tree and arrranged for hundreds of Cape sparrows to line up on a branch to share it with us.

There were very few negative aspects. One is the siting of the camp on an iron oxide rich mountainside which acts as a highly effective storage heater enveloping the camp in warm air all night. We also had a very irritatingly early departure after our second night. Our pilot had overnighted at the camp and to make a 7.15 take off needed to be at the strip at 0700. Requiring a 30 min transfer that meant leaving camp at 0630 meaning a 0600 shake and no chance at all of a morning activity.

The camp was exceedingly well run and particular thanks must go to Petronella and Smelda. Thank you all."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Okonjima Bush Camp

Okonjima Bush Camp

"Spotted Cats and Luxury"

3 nights Arrived 5 Sep 2009
"This was our only non Wilderness Safaris camp and we loved it. It is however quite different to the normal safari lodge and one must be aware that it is still a work in progress. The rooms with their bird baths and seed are fabulously comfortable and huge fun. We hunted the reserve all morning to photograph a particular bird only to find a pair at our bird bath on our return!

The lodge is beautiful and the food quite excellent - quality ingredients, beautifully cooked and imaginative menus. We had three terrific leopard sightings and spent a great deal of time in a cheetah enclosure. The unfinished element of this lodge is that the cheetahs are currently kept in enclosures of around 50 acres and the leopard, while free to hunt are collared and kept in a fenced 4000 hectare part of the reserve. Lion are extremely unlikely and those that they have are enclosed mental rescues too dangerous to visit.

The remaining 18000 hectares, while stunningly beautiful, has very little game but is worth a visit by twisting one's guide's arm. The ultimate aim is to fence the full 22000 hectares and release the cheetah and leopard into it with presumably other bought in game. The schedule is also different in that breakfast, lunch and dinner are taken with relatively short game drives/activities. They are just starting night drives but these take place after dinner and are at extra cost even for FBA guests. There is a night hide activity of about an hour to see porcupine and small cats attracted to scraps placed near the hide. This is also after dinner meaning that any night activity leads to a late night.

These are not real criticisms but we feel other Expert Africa travellers need to know that while this is a wonderful lodge to visit it is different. Huge thanks go to our guide Chris but note also that while water is provided on drives, if you take some from the bar it is charged as is all wine at dinner. That said, few will complain as the wines are quite excellent! We really loved Okonjima."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Ongava Tented Camp

Ongava Tented Camp

"Ongava Tented, a Unique Experience"

3 nights Arrived 8 Sep 2009
"Ongava Tented is a gem. We chose it as a base to visit Etosha and felt the time we spent travelling to and from the National Reserve would have been better spent in the Ongava reserve. We found Etosha over commercialised, flat, desolate and dull. In contrast the Ongava reserve is groaning with great game. We saw both white and black rhino, a huge pride of lions and masses of antelope and giraffe.

Paul and Gerda run the camp like caring landlord and landlady making one feel instantly at home. Our guide Rio was top notch and just kept delivering for our full stay. The water hole in front of the main building is a revelation and a constant source of activity and fabulous sightings.

We were slightly worried about the wood burning hot water heaters known as 'donkeys' but our fears were unfounded. We never lacked hot water despite very cold nights. The food can be a little basic but set against the rest of the experience any criticism amounts to nit picking. This camp is a must for anyone tempted to visit Etosha. We again had an early departure preventing a morning activity on our last day but this is a Sefofane issue not Wilderness."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Facilities
Good
Desert Rhino Camp

Desert Rhino Camp

"Rhino Tracking for the Faint Hearted"

3 nights Arrived 11 Sep 2009
"Another terrific Wilderness Safaris experience. We went specifically to see black rhino and saw them in spades - a male and female in our first track, a male, female and juvenile on our second and an 'extra' sighting of another male quite close to camp. The siting and landscape are breathtaking with huge mountains leaping straight up out of the veldt. In between there are startlingly green and lush river valleys still with water in September although the last rain was in May.

The camp organisation was not quite as slick here with some rather ordinary food. We had Room 1 which like all the others was refurbished in 2008. The bucket showers have gone, in theory, having been replaced by a solar heated water system. However, ours heater was sited out of the sight line of the main lodge meaning that it was in the shade of two trees. When the other rooms had piping hot water after a partly cloudy day ours was tepid at best and a second cloudy day meant that we had to ask for a bucket of hot water on our last morning. This needs fixing as a a matter of urgency.

Our guide Aloysius was outstanding and seemed the only member of staff to appreciate our hot water issue. A specialised camp that delivers exactly what it says on the tin."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Average

My Sep 2008 trip

South Africa between 1 Sep 2008 and 17 Sep 2008

Trip rating: Excellent
"We had a family visit at the centre of this trip and the itinerary was built around it. Had it not been for the Stellenbosch hotel mistake this would have been a 99.5% success but the D'Ouwe dragged it down to a 98%er.

We love your holidays and the efficiency and expert kowledge you apply to getting it right for us. Long may it continue. We look forward to planning a Namibia/Botswana combo with you for 2009!

Oddly the only Okavango camp we have not wanted to return to was Sandibe also run by CCA who manage Kwandwe. We felt the Sandibe buildings similarly poorly suited to the environment. I would welcome the opportunity to talk about the Kwandwe management, the D'Ouwe Werf and Samara game."

Arranged By Claire Scott


Oude Werf

Oude Werf

"D'Ouwe Werf - A hotel that has lost its' way"

5 nights Arrived 2 Sep 2008
"We found that for a 5 night stay we had been put in a small room next to the entrance hall and looking into the main street - at street level opposite major building work. When we enquired about a change we were first shown a room like a suite roughly 4 times the size of the original but at the same tarif!

At this point the Manageress overheard the discussion and when she discovered we were booked through Africa Travel Canvas offered us a free upgrade to a Governor Suite overlooking the inner courtyard. This was marvellous for the first three nights but Friday and Saturday brought neighbouring guests who crashed drunkenly around the wooden floors while taking lengthy showers and knocking on each other's doors at 2 and 3am.

Having eaten out on nights one and two we decided to eat in for the rest of the week. We found a Harvester like fixed menu with dog eared menus which had clearly been in use for some time. Even the specials remained unchanged all week. The cooking was poor, tough meat and glutinous vegetable concotions. Clearly the kitchen needs urgent action. On the positive side the staff were, without exception, helpful, charming and a delight.

We felt the hotel website misleading in that while stating clearly it is a town site, suggests a historic Cape Dutch building apparently in its own grounds. The hotel is actually part of a town centre block with an extremely narrow entrance to the garage and a front door onto the street. The integral garage takes 9 cars after very careful manouevering and much hand signalling from an attendant. On return one never knows if there will be space or if one's car has to be taken off to another garage.

Other guests might be lucky but we feel this hotel has lost its way and should be taken off the Expert Africa recommended list until it shows positive movement towards the the standard of the other hotels we stayed at."
Poor
Location
Poor
Food
Poor
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Poor
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Klippe Rivier Country House, South Africa (this camp has since closed)

"A Dream Hotel in a Wonderful Location"

1 night Arrived 7 Sep 2008
"This was our first stop after D'Ouwe Werf and exactly what we needed. Set on a hillside with breathtaking scenery this lovely old historic building is run by staff who know exactly what their guests need.

Despite being the only guests we were treated royally. Nothing was too much trouble and we dined magnificently before being able to return to our room, light a fire and enjoy the quiet of a cold Cape evening.

Top notch and a very firm recommendation. As bird lovers we were even able to spend 2 or 3 hours birding beside the adjoining reservoir."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Hog Hollow Country Lodge

Hog Hollow Country Lodge

"Hog Hollow in the rain"

1 night Arrived 8 Sep 2008
"This is a high class operation but we arrived in the rain, it rained overnight and we left in the rain. We probably missed some of the scenery due to the rain but our room actually had little view across the gorge on whose side it was perched.

We ate and drank well, the other guests (mostly honeymooners from Ireland) were great fun and the food was very good. It failed however to make the sort of impact of Klippe Rivier or other places we stayed at. Perhaps the staff were a little over attentive with knapkins being refolded while a guest went outside for a smoke during dinner?

It is a lovely place, one is well looked after but...."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Samara Karoo Lodge

Samara Karoo Lodge

"Samara Sensational Scenery"

3 nights Arrived 9 Sep 2008
"After the long drive from Cape Town Semara came as a revelation. Set in an amphitheatre of mountains, the old farmhouse and surrounding cottages provide breathtaking scenery every time one steps out of the door. We had sun and clear visibility which allowed us to see the mountains in great detail.

The staff, rooms and facilities in the main lodge are simply wonderful. As a place to spend time in the high veldt it must be approaching the unbeatable. It is however a huge reserve and the animals seem both elusive and nervous. The same is true of the birds which while numerous rarely seem willing to be approached even by vehicle. This is not so in any camp we have visited in Botswana or indeed in Kwandwe which was our next stop.

It almost seems as if hunting is still going on in the reserve and making all the wildlife very nervous of any approaching vehicle. Taken to the top of one of the local mountains we were faced with yet another fantastic film set where the clear visibility allowed us to see mountains reportedly over 100 miles away. We walked to see cheetah but the penalty was the nerve jangling cold - it had been -2C at the lodge that morning!

A wonderful place to visit but not yet a top reserve for game or bird viewing."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kwandwe Ecca Lodge

Kwandwe Ecca Lodge

"Kwandwe for great game and birds"

3 nights Arrived 12 Sep 2008
"The perfect formula would be Samara lodge and rooms in Kwandwe reserve! A more compact reserve than Samara, the Kwandwe game and birdlife was plentiful, findable and approachable. Had the lodge been to the same standard this would have been unbeatable. However on day 2 the temperature went into the mid 30s and we, along with all the other guests, found the rooms built in such a way as to make air conditioning essential. We had it but it required the skill of an astronaut to work the controls and the conditioner outlet is cunningly sited behind a wall to make the bathroom area icy while making no impact on the heat in the bedroom. Moreover the design of both the main lodge and the rooms allows the sun to bake all the surrounding decking and heat up the concrete walls to provide highly effective radiators.

We then had a farcicle episode in which we were gradually deprived of first our face flannels then our hand towels on successive linen exchanges - a situation which the lodge management appeared unable to grasp when informed or then remedy. When they finally got the message we found that all the hand towels were in the laundry and there were insufficient clean ones to go round so we were left without. The same staff continually layed the tables for breakfast and lunch out in the sun on the decking only to be asked by guests to move them into the shade inside the lodge.

We also noticed that we and one other party were the only guests staying for 3 nights. All the others during our stay were one or two night stoppers. However in their wisdom the management had placed us in one of the rooms furthest from the lodge. A crippled back episode was not helped by the long walks to and from our room. The staff were however wonderfully helpful in replacing my exhausted supply of painkillers.

On the plus side we were lucky to benefit from a 'special deal' whereby we qualified for a private guide, tracker and vehicle for the duration of our stay. Even better was the fact that our guide was none other than the reserve's head ranger. Absolutely wonderful and our time on the drives amply compensated for th shortcomings with the rooms and housekeeping."
Excellent
Location
Average
Service
Average
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Poor
Food
Good
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Rosenhof Country Lodge

"The Rosenhof at Oudtshoorn"

1 night Arrived 15 Sep 2008
"The Rosenhof is gem of an hotel albeit a very long days drive from Kwandwe. Set well outside the noise and bustle of the town it is a haven of peace in beautiful gardens. In retrospect we would have liked to stay longer.

A major downside is their predeliction for piping Frank Sinatra musak at their guests whenever they can! At dinner it had a certain charm but then over breakfast?!

Terrific food and lovely staff it sits perfectly on the most sensational route between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town i.e. the inland route. Forget the Garden Route and drive inland. It is spectacularly wonderful."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
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Roggeland Country House, South Africa (this camp has since closed)

"Roggeland Country House review"

1 night Arrived 16 Sep 2008
"We found it hard to rate the Roggeland. It is a lovely old house in a beautiful setting but unsettlingly unhotellike. Although we had opted for a superior room we felt it anything but. In one of the barn conversions it was called Melk and not listed in the hotel's Rate page. Not particularly large, dark with a single small window it had low ceilings and apparently a single small electric radiator in the bedroom with nothing to heat the small, cramped bathroom.

In contrast Gordon and his family are terrific hosts with excellent food and great wines."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Poor
Food
Excellent

Orwins Okavango 2008

Botswana between 2 Apr 2008 and 15 Apr 2008

Trip rating: Excellent
"Another triumph for Expert Afica and Wilderness Safaris. Oh for the dream team of this duo and Virgin Atlantic!!"

Kwetsani Camp

Kwetsani Camp

"Kwetsani Camp review"

3 nights Arrived 3 Apr 2008
"Kwetsani has always been one of our great Okavango favourites and this was our fourth visit. Little has changed thank goodness and it remains a small piece of heaven.

The staff from top to bottom are always attentive, helpful and cheerful, the food great and the rooms wonderfully well equipped. Depending on the time of year visitors must be prepared for quite different sightings as they vary considerably between the floodplain being dry or wet.

As an example of the exceptional care Wilderness takes with its guests, last year's managers made the trip from Jao to dine with us at kwetsani and then see us off from the airstrip at the end of our visit. That is real customer care!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Little Vumbura

Little Vumbura

"Little Vumbura review"

4 nights Arrived 6 Apr 2008
"Little Vumbura is our favourite Okavango lodge. This was our third visit but the first since the modernisation programme. It is still a truly wonderful camp, set on its own on a small island. The boat trip before and after every game drive adds a very special feel and we are sure the island setting leads to an intimacy between staff and guests almost impossibel to replicate in other camps.

As died in the wool dinosaurs we much preferred the old canvas walls and ceilings but appreciate the new man made coverings are probably more cost effective. We did however find the public sitting space very much hotter in early afternoon with the heat radiating from the ceiling. However, none of this detracts from the special atmosphere we have always experienced here.

In true Winderness tradition the staff, both camp and guiding, are top notch and willing to go out of their way at any time to ensure their guests have everything they need. I am sure we will go back for a fourth time in 2009!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Little Kwara

Little Kwara

"Little Kwara review"

3 nights Arrived 10 Apr 2008
"This camp was a disappoinment to us and we made a number of comments on the Botswana hotel review form we were offered at the camp. In the interests of balance we must add that this judgement is based on the experience being a degree of excellence lower than usual since it is almost impossible to visit the Okavango and not have the most wonderful time.

Our main criticisms centre on the poor lighting, dim to the point of needing a torch around the room at dusk and the open topped game drive vehicles which, had it been Oct or Nov, would have been unbearable late morning for guests direct from northern Europe. Lastly there are no fans of any type in the rooms which can make them uncomfortably hot.

We also had what we hope was a one off intrusion during our stay when a film crew were flown into and operated from Kwara camp in two Botswana Defence force helicopters over the weekend of 12/13 April. As a retired and highly experienced army helicopter pilot I feel safe in expressing concern over the captaincy and flight safety demonstrated by these crews.

We understand that the loan of the aircraft had been sanctioned at a high level in government but seemingly little thought had been given to the possible disruption to their guest's holiday experience by Kwando Safaris when agreeing to use of their camp. It was intrusive, noisy, unsafe and cannot have been conducive to the wellbing of the local wildlife.

One wonderful moment that should not go unmentioned was that our guide at Little Kwara turned out to be the man who was our very first guide at Kwetsani during our first Okavango trip in 2002. His skill and expertise are undimmed and David is a special man."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Good
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Average
Food
Good
Facilities
Poor
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The Grace, South Africa (this camp has since closed)

"Overnight at The Grace at Rosebank in J'burg"

1 night Arrived 13 Apr 2008
"An essential part of all our trips to the Okavango allowing us to unwind in luxury before the overnight to Terminal 5!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent

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