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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Pete & Nancy from Stockton

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

3

Countries visited

6

Lodges stayed in

27

Excursions taken

6

Our Jan/Feb 2022 trip

Kenya and 2 other countries between 24 Jan 2022 and 1 Mar 2022

Trip rating: Excellent
"We had a fantastic trip covering three East Africa countries, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania. We stayed at two camps in each country along with extra days at each end of the trip in Kigali and Dar. Each country is different and has their own culture.

Rwanda was the cleanest country we have ever been to. Even way out from towns people are sweeping the roadsides and trimming vegetation. The Gorillas and Golden Monkeys were great to visit.

Kenya and Tanzania were the greenest countries, recent rains. The quantities of wildlife are incredible. The guides in both countries were excellent and transportation between camps was easy and convenient.

Everywhere we went we felt very welcome.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

I don't see how it could get any better."

Arranged By Richard Trillo


Heaven Retreat

Heaven Retreat

"Heaven Retreat"

4 nights Arrived 26 Jan 2022
"We stayed at The Retreat twice during our Rwanda trip in late January to early February 2022 for a few days at the beginning of our trip and then overnight when we drove in to Kigali from Magashi Camp in Akagera National Park and before leaving for Bisate Lodge in Volcanoes National Park the next morning.

The Retreat is situated in the Kiyovu district of Kigali, a pretty part of the city on one its countless hills. Our room (a superior king suite) was modern, clean and roomy with a balcony out front and a courtyard in the back. There are lots of trees around the property so it has the feel of being in a forest with a lot of birds.

There is ample outdoor dining surrounding the pool and lots of indoor dining as well. The Fusion Restaurant serves delicious, artistically presented dishes. The bar has a nice wine list and makes many delicious specialty drinks. There is a second restaurant, with a beautiful view of Kigali, called Heaven. It is the original part of the property and the food is delicious here too.

We stayed on a bed & breakfast basis and breakfast every morning at the Fusion Restaurant was delicious with plenty of fresh fruit and yogurt along with an interesting variety of hot breakfasts. The staff are all very friendly and efficient.

We took several walks through the neighborhood and up toward the busy business district. The city is very clean, but we avoided crowded areas due to Covid concerns.

We loved our relaxing stay at The Retreat and won’t hesitate to stay there again when in Rwanda. It was the perfect place to get on Rwanda time after long flights from the West Coast of the U.S."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kigali Tour and Genocide Memorial Visit

Kigali Tour and Genocide Memorial Visit

"Kigali Tour and Genocide Memorial Visit review"

28 Jan 2022 • Morning excursion

During the three full days we spent in Kigali we toured the city with our driver/guide, Sula, from Primate Safaris. We enjoyed partial-day tours, giving us time to relax in our hotel and time to walk around the city on our own. Our tour was tailored to our interests and timing. The Genocide Memorial and museum is a very moving exhibition that also includes a large burial ground. The exhibits inside are well organized and thought out. In addition, they are very personal and include many photographs of the victims of the genocide. It is very much a memorial and as well as a museum with a warning for the future.

Another highlight was a walking tour of Nyamirambo, Kigali’s Muslim quarter. Our tour started at the Nyamirambo Women’s Center, an organization that teaches women to read and write as well as to sew as a livelihood. The shop sells items made by the ladies. We proceeded on a walk around the neighborhood that ended in a lunch cooked in the home of a local woman. The food was delicious and the fellowship was outstanding. This is a vibrant neighborhood well worth seeing.

Over several days we drove around various parts of the city through the city center, commercial parts of the city and up to Mount Kigali.

During the three full days we spent in Kigali we had the services of a private driver/guide named Sula from Primate Safaris. Sula was so knowledgeable about Rwanda’s history and its current place in the world. He tailored our tours of the city to suit our interests, including a delicious lunch restaurant with outdoor dining. We also drove around various parts of the city through the city center, commercial parts of the city and up to Mount Kigali.

In addition, Sula drove us from Kigali to Akagera National Park where we were met by our guides from Wilderness Safaris’ Magashi Camp. During our drive to Akagera, Sula explained the various crops being grown in the countryside and how Rwandan people live. Sula then met us at Akagera again at the end of our stay there and drove us back to Kigali for an overnight stay at The Retreat.

The next morning he drove us to Wilderness Safaris’ Bisate Lodge near Volcanoes National Park. Knowing we were interested in local coffee growing, he arranged a tour of a small coffee processing place along the way. Once at Bisate, Sula drove us to and from Volcanoes National Park headquarters prior to our golden monkey and mountain gorilla treks. In addition he suggested we visit the newly opened Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund nearby ahead of our mountain gorilla trek to learn about the gorillas before we saw them. It was an excellent suggestion. After our stay at Bisate he drove us to Kigali International Airport.

Sula is extremely knowledgeable about Rwanda’s flora and fauna as well. He was an excellent guide and we loved the time we spent with him. He helped us get the multiple COVID tests required throughout our stay in Rwanda and he kept the safari vehicle immaculate.
Magashi Camp

Magashi Camp

"Magashi Camp review"

3 nights Arrived 30 Jan 2022
"We arrived at Akagera National Park by private driver/guide, following a more than a three-hour drive from Kigali. At the entrance to the park our Wilderness Safaris guide took over. Actually we had two guides as a guide from a Wilderness Safaris camp in Zambia, Isaac, (the Zambia camp was closed due to the rainy season) joined our Magashi guide, Innocent, to learn the camp and roads ahead of guiding at Magashi. It was a real treat to have two such excellent guides. We had a nice game drive to Magashi Camp, which is located on Lake Rwanyakazinga, where we received a warm welcome from the staff and a glass of juice.

After a brief orientation we were led to our tent on a raised boardwalk. With Wilderness Safaris tent is always loosely defined, while it had canvas walls it was also a very luxurious. There was a deck in front where you could watch and photograph the birds along the lake out front. Occasionally an elephant walked by and there were always hippos. Inside were all the usual amenities, a comfortable bed, flush toilet, hot shower and a desk and coffee bar.

The food was great at every meal. There was plenty of variety and plenty of food. Each group of guests had their own table situated either under the large trees at the edge of the deck or under cover, but still open to the deck. In addition to the dining room there is a central bar and large reading area with comfortable sofas and chairs. This central area and each of the six tents look out over Lake Rwanyakazinga. There is also a pool and fire pit near the lakeshore. The location is beautiful with the lake views and the large trees and shrubs between tents. There were many birds and the occasional mischievous monkey in the trees.

Game drives were great especially since it was very green being the short dry season. This was the first time we have been in Africa outside the dry season so we amazed at how green it was. The mixture of terrain was a surprise too; everything from thick brush to wide open savannah.

As Magashi is built on the lakeshore we had a mixture of vehicle and boat game drives. The boat game drives were particularly nice, as we got quite close to the animals and there were a lot of different species of birds. There were buffalo, hippo (in and out of the water), elephant, black rhino and many more types of animals along with many crocodiles. One afternoon we did a boat safari and then a night drive in a vehicle back to camp. One day we were fortunate to spot a shy leopardess and on another a group of lions, one sleeping in a tree. At night we heard lions, hippos and hyenas and in the morning woke to the sounds of many birds.

Rwanda’s recovery from the horrors of its genocide are remarkable. Akagera National Park has made a similar recovery, which you will learn about during your visit. On the morning we left, camp staff gave us packed lunches, which we enjoyed on our drive back to Kigali with our driver/guide."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Bisate Lodge

Bisate Lodge

"Bisate Lodge review"

3 nights Arrived 3 Feb 2022
"Bisate Lodge is built on a re-forested hillside, with views of two volcanoes, on the edge of Volcanoes National Park in the northwest of Rwanda. Volcanic stone stairways lead to the spacious central lodge that includes the dining area with a fireplace, bar, and seating areas around a second fireplace. Beyond the lodge are six spacious villas all connected by similar volcanic stone stairways. The villas are luxurious and comfortable with a king size bed, seating areas and coffee station. A fireplace opens to the bedroom and bathroom suite, which includes a large soaking tub in addition to a stone shower, double vanity and flush toilet. A long balcony provides sweeping views of the nearby volcanoes and villages. The fireplaces were most welcome on chilly mornings and evenings.

The meals were outstanding. Lunch and dinner in particular featured local dishes…the local potatoes and beans were especially delicious and the chef shared his recipes with us. Individual tables were set for each group of guests. The bar offers a number of unique cocktails. And, when we left, the friendly Bisate staff sent us on our way with packed lunches.

But the most surprising part about Bisate is that it is located above nearby villages. The Lodge fits in very well and feels very remote in its forested location. Bisate has a plant nursery that is growing native plants and trees that are being used in the reforestation project around the lodge. Local villagers are employed in the nursery and in the reforestation effort, which can be seen from the hiking trails around the lodge. We took advantage of the opportunity to learn about this effort from Jimmy, Bisate’s agronomist and resident of a nearby village, during several short hikes. We each planted a tree to contribute to the reforestation effort. P.S. Jimmy is also a chameleon whisperer; he spotted no less than four of the tiny creatures during our hikes! Jimmy also keeps Bisate’s extensive vegetable garden, which yields the most delicious lettuces among many other things.

We took two additional hikes while at Bisate. The golden monkey trek took us through fields of flowers and between potato fields. We had the opportunity to see how farming is done there and found a family of mischievous golden monkeys at the edge of a potato field near a bamboo forest. The hike was very easy.

Of course, the highlight of our visit was the very emotional hour we spent with a mountain gorilla family. We were accompanied by a ranger, gorilla trackers and a porter we hired to carry our camera backpack. She also helped us across wet, slippery portions of the trail, which was even more important to us than carrying the backpack. Do hire a porter. We were able to choose the degree of difficulty (relatively easy) of our trek to the mountain gorilla family and were paired with two other trekkers who had chosen a similar level of difficulty.

Gaiters are advisable for the treks due to the muddy conditions, but no need to pack them - Bisate provides them for your use. And, your muddy hiking shoes will be returned to you cleaner than before your trek. During our visit in early February we had a combination of rain and sunshine, but the rain didn’t prohibit our outdoor activities. Because of the elevation temperatures at night were quite chilly.

We arrived at Bisate Lodge with our driver/guide from Kigali, an interesting four-hour drive. Bisate does not have its own guides, so instead utilizes guests’ private driver/guides to transport them to Volcanoes National Park headquarters, to the beginning of any trek you choose and then back to Bisate Lodge.

Don’t miss Bisate Lodge when visiting Rwanda and Volcanoes National Park."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Golden Monkey Trekking

Golden Monkey Trekking

"Golden Monkey Trekking review"

4 Feb 2022 • Morning excursion

The golden monkey trek started at Volcanoes National Park where rangers assigned trekkers into groups. We then drove to the starting point of the trek with our private driver/guide where me met the rest of the group. Our group of about eight was accompanied by several guides.

The trek took us through fields of potatoes and flowers allowing us to gain an understanding of how local villagers farm. The guides took time along the way to point out birds and plants.

We found a large family of mischievous golden monkeys up on a hillside at the edge of a potato field. The golden monkeys like to steal potatoes from the fields, so local farmers have to keep them away. We watched the group of monkeys at the edge of the field and then followed them into an adjacent bamboo forest. We had plenty of time to view the golden monkeys, which included individuals of all ages. The trek through the fields and up the side of the hill was easy.
Excellent
Gorilla Trekking Safari

Gorilla Trekking Safari

"Gorilla Trekking Safari review"

5 Feb 2022 • Morning excursion

Our trek began at Volcanoes National Park headquarters where guides assigned groups of trekkers based on how long or difficult a trek each wanted to reach the mountain gorillas. We then drove with our private driver/guide through several villages to the edge of the forest to begin our trek. We were paired with only two other trekkers and accompanied by several guides.

We hired a porter to carry our camera backpack. She also took us across very muddy, wet or slippery parts of the trail, which was very helpful. We highly recommend hiring a porter.

Several trackers met us before we approached the mountain gorilla family. We took our cameras out of our backpack and left it with the porters. We proceeded with the guides and trackers to find the gorilla family.

We spent an hour (the time went by very quickly) with a family of 19 individuals including mothers, infants, juveniles and a big silverback. They were gentle and watched us with as much curiosity as we watched them. Several times we had to step away as curious youngsters got too close. It was a very moving experience.

The trackers helped clear the vegetation so we had a good view of the gorillas. We visited early in February 2022 and were required to wear a medical-grade or better mask before approaching the mountain gorillas. We also had to have a COVID test ahead of time. We were happy to do both the keep these beautiful animals safe.

We were treated to a cold drink by Sula, our driver guide from Primate Safaris at the end of our trek. The Tamarillo Triumph cocktail was prepared by the staff at Wilderness Safaris' Bisate Lodge. It was delicious and most welcome.
Excellent
Hemingways Nairobi

Hemingways Nairobi

"Hemingways Nairobi review"

1 night Arrived 6 Feb 2022
"We stayed at Hemingways twice — arriving in Kenya and departing to our next camp in Tanzania. Unfortunately both of our stays were very short and we really did not have the time to fully enjoy the grounds. It is a beautiful place to stay with large gardens, swimming pool and an excellent restaurant that even features a very nice Kenyan wine. Our room was spacious, comfortable and very clean.

The first night we arrived late from Rwanda during a rainstorm and had to leave early the next morning. We had dinner in our room and it was very good. The service was excellent and we were able to order our breakfast for the next morning ahead of time. The kitchen opens very early in the morning making it possible to enjoy breakfast before an early departure.

Our second stay was a little longer as we arrived early enough in the afternoon to eat dinner in their excellent restaurant. We had a very early start the next morning, so again had breakfast in our room. We appreciated being able to enjoy breakfast before an early departure for Oliver’s Camp in Tarangire National Park.

The staff is very attentive and reliable. We had no problem getting anything we needed and they were very prompt with in-room meals and picking up our luggage."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kicheche Laikipia

Kicheche Laikipia

"Kicheche Laikipia review"

4 nights Arrived 7 Feb 2022
"We visited Kicheche Laikipia in February which is the short dry season. It was indeed dry as we expected. The waterhole in front of the camp went noticeably lower each day, still, lots of animals come to the waterhole to drink. The elevation is over 6000 feet so the mornings were quite cool, low 50s Fahrenheit. It was a race to get dressed quickly in the morning. However, the camp brought us hot coffee at our wakeup time, which helped warm us up. It warmed up quickly once we got out on the game drive but hot water bottles and ponchos in the vehicle made for a comfortable start. It also cooled down quickly at night and hot water bottles in our bed kept us warm until morning.

At Kicheche Laikipia we usually didn’t have early breakfast in camp. We started with coffee in our tent and then went straight to the safari vehicle. Right after leaving camp we had a great morning view of Mount Kenya with the sunrise. About 9:00 am each day our guide Simon would find a scenic spot and set out breakfast for the three of us. The camp was only partially full so we had a vehicle to ourselves.

The tents are very spacious with a comfortable bed, large double vanity, shower and flush toilet. The tent is open on the front in the bedroom during the day with netting and flaps that drop down at night. By the time we returned at mid-day the staff had opened up the front of our tent. We had no problem with bugs of any kind in our tent.

Meals were excellent with plenty of variety, delicious salads, soups and vegetables in addition to plenty of beef and chicken. Deserts were delicious too. Lunch was served in a tent near the waterhole. Dinners were served in the main tent, which also has a comfortable seating area. One evening we enjoyed a meal of all local dishes that included a variety of stews and vegetables. It was our favorite dinner.

Early in the morning and after dark we were escorted to and from our tent by one of the staff members. Time spent around the campfire with a glass of wine before dinner was a highlight.

One day we went to the Ngare Ndare Forest and hiked to a couple of waterfalls and then after a picnic lunch, and some bird watching, we did the canopy walk. It was quite interesting and fun. It was about a two hour drive to get there and it was interesting to drive through the town of Nanyuki. We flew into a different airstrip so had not seen Nanyuki yet. Another afternoon we visited the Endangered Species Enclosure and saw the last two Northern White Rhinos that exist in the world. We also took photos at the marker for the equator which we had crossed twice that day.

The camp is in a private area where self driving is not allowed so the only time we saw other vehicles is when we went into the more open area. Even then we rarely came across anyone else. Game viewing was very good with a lot of black rhino and white rhino. We also saw some baby jackals who came out of their den to visit with us. One afternoon we watched a female lion hunting; she ultimately was unsuccessful after a try at some zebras and then a close call for a warthog. That was quite exciting! Simon is one of the most detail-oriented guides we’ve ever had on safari. We learned so many details about everything from whistling acacia to lizards to rhinos. He is a stellar guide."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Northern White Rhinos visit

Northern White Rhinos visit

"Northern White Rhinos visit review"

8 Feb 2022 • All-day excursion

A very informative visit and up-close experience with the two remaining Northern White Rhinos in existence.

We learned about the international effort being undertaken to try and keep the species alive using in vitro fertilization. Our guide for the tour was Zachariah and he was very enthusiastic and informative.

At the end of the tour we were able to hand feed a black rhino that has become blind due to injury and age. It was a moving visit.
Excellent
Image alt

Ngare Ndare Forest visit

"Ngare Ndare Forest visit review"

9 Feb 2022 • All-day excursion

We visited Near Ndare Forest in early February 2022 and it was fairly dry. The drive from Kicheche Laikipia camp was about two hours and took us through Nanyuki, which was very interesting, but the drive was very dusty.

We hiked to two waterfalls, both of which were very pretty. The trails were very good and only steep in a few places. We chose to walk to the waterfalls and back from the parking lot to get a longer hike.

After the waterfall hikes we found a shady spot for lunch (packed by Kicheche Laikipia for us) and enjoyed a delicious meal while watching and listening to the birds.

After lunch we took the canopy walk, which provided both tree-top views (more birds) and views from above of the forest floor. The canopy walk isn't very long, but it was interesting.

An armed guide from the park accompanied us during our visit because wild game inhabit the park. In all we walked about 8 km in the park.
Excellent
Kicheche Bush Camp

Kicheche Bush Camp

"Kicheche Bush Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 11 Feb 2022
"Kicheche Bush Camp is a photographer’s paradise because of the landscape and the abundance of wild animals - cheetahs and leopards in particular. Lions were abundant and we spent time at a hyena den watching several generations of a family play with each other. The other draw for photographers are the Maasai guides who know the animals’ behavior so well and are skilled at positioning their safari vehicle for the best photographs. We had the good fortune to have Nelson as our guide and he is the best. This was our first visit to Kicheche Bush Camp, though the camp gets many repeat guests.

Bush Camp is surrounded by an acacia forest, so don’t be surprised to see one or more giraffes nibbling on the trees outside your tent. And we regularly heard lions and hyena calling throughout the night. The central dining area, and what amounts to a large living room with comfy chairs and sofas, is located in a large central tent built on an elevated foundation. Several low tables and chairs are set on the covered front porch. A small curio shop is located in an adjacent part of the tent and has additional seating. The camp has only six tents, which are located in a line with the dining area in the middle of them.

Our tent was situated on the ground, not a platform, and was very spacious with a large sitting area and large bedroom area. The double vanity, flush toilet and shower were spacious. Large tent flaps let the breeze blow through during the day and were rolled down at night. The beauty of these tents is that we were perfectly comfortable and cozy but we were still able to hear the sounds of the night. Because the camp is not fenced, one of the Maasai askari accompanied us to/from your tent in the evening and early morning.

Our days began with the delivery of coffee and biscuits to our tent. We left camp by 6 am to see the sunrise from our safari vehicle. By 9:30 Nelson had found a picturesque spot for our picnic breakfast. By mid-day we were back in camp and ready for a delicious lunch under an acacia tree. We especially enjoyed our unhurried lunchtime meals and the chance to visit with Abraham, one of the the Maasai staff. By 4 pm we were ready for the evening game drive and sundowner before returning to camp to a delicious three-course dinner.

Several evenings we enjoyed time around the camp fire with a glass of wine before dinner. Other evenings we experienced torrential rains that precluded all but a mad dash for the dining room. Heavy rains caused the cancellation of our plans for a hike to the fly camp with an overnight stay. Our stay in the middle of February (the short dry season) was preceded by very unpredictable and wetter than normal weather. A silver lining of the very heavy rains one night was watching a large herd of zebra crossing a swollen river the next morning. The river was raging and the crossing was very dramatic. As usual, Nelson had us in the right place at the right time. We can’t thank him enough for the high-quality game viewing experiences. In addition to the big game mentioned above, we saw countless small game including birds and even a dung beetle in action."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kicheche Walking Wilderness

Kicheche Walking Wilderness

"Kicheche Walking Wilderness review"

1 night Arrived 13 Feb 2022
"We did not do the fly camp.

It rained so hard the night before the camp managers felt it would be too difficult in the mud. Plus it appeared it would rain more.

We agreed with them and stayed at Kicheche Bush camp that day."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Little Oliver's Camp

Little Oliver's Camp

"Oliver's Camp review"

4 nights Arrived 16 Feb 2022
"We were going to be at Little Olivers but is was full with new guides being trained so we stayed at Olivers Camp. This turned out to be a great choice as the camp was not full anyway.

Oliver’s Camp is located deep within Tarangire National Park. The location makes for a great safari experience with very little traffic from other vehicles. We could go for two or three hours each morning before running into vehicles that had started outside the park.

Oliver’s Camp’s location well within the park means that departures for morning game drives needn’t be before the crack of dawn. We were able to enjoy breakfast in one of several pretty outdoor locations in camp, with gorgeous views of the landscape, and still leave camp by 7:15 am or so.

Lunches and dinners were also excellent and each group dined separately. Lunches were often in the open-air central lodge upstairs or downstairs, except when they were in a surprise location away from camp. There are also several hidden dining areas around camp and it seems we dined in a different, private location every evening. Often we spent time around the campfire before dinner. The chefs and staff do an amazing job serving fantastic meals.

The camp is surrounded by forest and regularly has lions and other animals roaming around at night. We were always escorted to and from our tent in the evening and morning by at least one and sometimes two of the staff. It was great to hear the lions roaring so close at night.

There is forest, grassland and a long drive along the shore of the Silale swamp — so a lot of varied terrain. There were large number of birds at the time of our visit in mid-February and we had a lot of fun photographing them. We even saw a crab walking across the road one day.

Our guide, Walter, was absolutely the best. The other guides called him “Professor” because of his extensive knowledge of flora and fauna. I think we learned more from him than all the other guides we had on our trip combined. We are interested in everything from bugs to the big five and Walter taught us about all of them. He and a park ranger also guided us on a walking safari, which was very interesting.

It was really green due to the rains and the roads were quite wet in places but none of it interfered with our drives. Even with all the vegetation we saw plenty of animals out in the open. Lions, elephants and giraffes were plentiful along with ostriches and hyena and a lot of mongoose. We watched lions hunting but they missed the warthog so no lion sausage for them that day. We also had a great night drive with a genet and serval sightings.

In mid-February there are tsetse flies, lots of tsetse flies. They weren’t everywhere but we did run into them often enough. Their bite isn’t too bad but they really itch a couple of days later, my wife was more affected with some swelling around the bites too. They didn’t interfere with our enjoyment but we were swatting at them a lot. I would recommend you bring gaiters to wear in the vehicle as they seemed to like our ankles more than anywhere else."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Beho Beho Bailey's Banda

Beho Beho Bailey's Banda

"Beho Beho review"

5 nights Arrived 20 Feb 2022
"Our stay at Beho Beho toward the end of February started with very warm weather that cooled somewhat and included occasional rain showers and one torrential downpour. The landscape was beautifully green and wildlife sightings, especially birds, were numerous. Our first sighting was a pride of lions, that were resting not far from the runway, just after we flew into the Beho Beho airstrip.

Beho Beho is unlike any safari camp we’ve ever stayed in. It is the former private safari lodge of the Bailey family, who still own it. Beho Beho includes eight stone bandas arranged around a large, central lodge and Bailey’s Banda, a two-bedroom family unit. Because our stay was at the end of the season, all but Bailey’s Banda was closed up for the season, which meant we had the extreme good fortune to stay there. We were the only guests in camp.

Bailey’s Banda offers private accommodations with two bedrooms, a bar, dining room, large living room, kitchen and small swimming pool. We had the spacious upstairs bedroom that looks out over the river below and hillsides beyond.

Buffet lunches were served in the dining room and dinner was in the dining room unless it was out by the pool or in another surprise location. During our stay there were three guides in camp, Heribert, Godlisten and Mike, all are very experienced and have been at Beho Beho for many years. We had a different guide for each game drive, which is how all game drives are organized at Beho Beho. It gave us a chance to get to know each guide and enjoy their unique approach to guiding. All of the guides joined us for a cocktail before dinner and one guide stayed to dine with us.

Our morning began with coffee in our room before heading out on the morning game drive. We had breakfast in the bush. One morning we enjoyed a boating safari and breakfast on Lake Tagalala. On another morning we were guided on a walking safari followed by breakfast in the bush. Just as we finished breakfast a torrential downpour moved in and we headed for Bailey’s Banda. It rained throughout the afternoon, so we spent our time reading and enjoying Bailey’s Banda. During our game drive the next morning it was very interesting to see the swollen rivers from the prior day’s rains. We expected the weather to be unsettled so near the beginning of the rainy season, but it didn’t impact our enjoyment of Beho Beho. Nyerere National Park (formerly Selous Game Reserve) is so beautiful this time of year. Every day was different and our time at Beho Beho went by very quickly.

The highlight of our game sightings were wild dogs, which we saw three times. On the third sighting we followed them for several kilometers but eventually they laid down under some trees for the rest of the morning. Also several lion sightings, countless birds, elephants, giraffe (including a newborn), zebra, impala, wildebeest and large herds of buffalo."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Oyster Bay

Oyster Bay

"Oyster Bay review"

3 nights Arrived 25 Feb 2022
"Oyster Bay is a small, boutique hotel located along the Indian Ocean in Dar es Salaam. With only eight rooms and beautiful large trees that shade the lawn, and a swimming pool, it is a quiet and comfortable stop coming in from safari before leaving for home. The rooms are a modern design and quite large with a large sofa and writing desk. There is plenty of outdoor seating in the shade as well.

We enjoyed breakfast outside in the mornings and because we were the only guests, we had lunch and dinner inside as the weather was quite warm. The staff are very friendly and efficient. The food was absolutely outstanding. Breakfast included a wide selection of fresh fruits, yogurt and a hot breakfast cooked to order, should you want that. We loved lunch and dinner from locally-caught shrimp, fish and lobster to a dinner of all local dishes.

We also did a walk on the beach across the street with one of the askaris escorting us."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

My Oct 2021 trip

Botswana and 2 other countries between 15 Oct 2021 and 6 Nov 2021

Trip rating: Excellent
"We had a fantastic trip to Botswana and Namibia. We felt very safe traveling as all camp staff are vaccinated and tested. The guests as well since the airlines won't let you board without a Covid test.

The experience visiting the different parts of the Okavango delta is not to be missed. The amount of animals is amazing.

We also visited two camps in Namibia, our favorite country in Africa. The scenery is out of this world and so varied you never get tired of looking at it.

Expert Africa did a great job helping us plan this trip and Megan was incredibly helpful in working around airline flight cancellations and changes. She also helped us get all of our Covid tests scheduled for country transfers.

This was our second trip with Expert Africa and both went very smoothly.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

I can't think of anything you could do better."

Arranged By Megan Green


Victoria Falls Hotel

Victoria Falls Hotel

"Victoria Falls Hotel review"

3 nights Arrived 15 Oct 2021
"We had a great time at the Victoria Falls Hotel. We stayed there a couple of days to acclimate ourselves to the time difference between the USA west coast and Africa. The staff was so friendly and helpful. Our room in the Stables wing was excellent with a nice private balcony to sit on. The food was great for every meal. The staff arranged for us to get our Covid tests at the hotel so we could continue our trip into Botswana.

We did two activities while we were there, the bridge tour and a sunset cruise. The bridge tour is quite interesting as you get to walk on the catwalks underneath the bridge with a very knowledgeable guide.

We had a great sundowner cruise on the Pure Africa Zambezi Explorer on the Signature deck. The canapés were excellent and we saw several elephants playing in the river. We were met back on the dock by more elephants eating their way around the neighborhood.

It is an easy walk from the hotel to the falls and we spent a couple of hours touring the falls by ourselves. The water was quite low this time of year but still well worth seeing."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Jacana Camp

Jacana Camp

"Jacana Camp review"

3 nights Arrived 18 Oct 2021
"Jacana Camp is located on a little island on the open floodplains of Jao Flats in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. When the water is high it is surrounded by water; this time of year it is not, but the landscape is still so beautiful.

Our experience here will be hard to beat. We heard lions, leopards and hyenas at night along with many, many birds. Animal and bird sightings were outstanding. A few of our favorite sightings: newborn hippo, tsessebe, lion, bushbuck and dung beetle (no kidding, there’s a lot of drama taking place in a pile of elephant dung!) We had dinner outside under the stars and lunch along a waterway. Sundowners in a different location (including a mokoro experience) were always beautiful. The food was delicious, the staff made us feel right at home and our guide, Gora, was the best.

Thanks to camp manager, Abu, for creating such a welcoming experience."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Little Vumbura

Little Vumbura

"Little Vumbura review"

3 nights Arrived 21 Oct 2021
"Little Vumbura will always be memorable as the place where we first saw a leopard in the wild. Our guide, “Gee”, was alerted to his presence by the distress calls of vervet monkeys. That was our first morning game drive and we went on to see lions, wild dogs, giraffe (including a youngster who had not yet lost its umbilical cord) and so much more. Peter and Gee had a successful evening fishing for tiger fish (they have very long teeth and are too bony to be good eating so it was catch-and-release only.)

The camp is on an island so we heard many hippos overnight along with lions and many birds. The night sounds of Africa are beautiful. Also, you start and end every game drive with a boat trip.

Be alert walking to your accommodations. One night our walkway was blocked by a Kudu, another morning there were elephant tracks when we returned from breakfast that weren't there when we went to breakfast."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
DumaTau Camp

DumaTau Camp

"DumaTau Camp review"

3 nights Arrived 24 Oct 2021
"Every Wilderness Safaris camp has its own feel and charm. DumaTau is luxurious and comfortable but does not separate you from the scents and sounds of the wild. The sounds of the African night are extraordinary at DumaTau.

The camp is located on Osprey Lagoon along the Linyanti River between two elephant crossings. Rooms are connected to the central outdoor dining area, bar and fire pits by raised walkways.

We saw countless elephants using these ancient crossings in small groups and larger family groups. The older elephants help the little ones swim across the river and we often watched juvenile males wrestle with each other as they completed the crossing. Truly, this is a magical experience.

The Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, on the northernmost fringe of Botswana, is rich in wildlife and the habitat is varied. We enjoyed driving safaris, a boat safari to photograph elephants swimming the river (at a respectful distance) and a walking safari. Viewing animals on foot is very different than from a vehicle. When on the vehicle you could get very close to the animals but when on foot they are very nervous and run away. Even the lions we came across while walking ran away but later the same ones allowed us to drive up very close. While not running, we did end our walking safari at that point and go back to the vehicle.

We were guided by Peter, an experienced and knowledgeable guide, who gave us a truly memorable experience. He spotted leopards, lions, many birds, countless elephants and he even found a chameleon - something I’ve long wanted to see in the wild. We saw the first newborn impala of the season.

I felt very emotional leaving DumaTau and we cannot thank Peter enough for the quality experience."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Mombo Camp

Mombo Camp

"Mombo Camp review"

3 nights Arrived 27 Oct 2021
"Mombo Camp was our final stop in the Okavango Delta. This Wilderness Safaris camp is the perfect combination of luxury, abundant game viewing, beautiful and varied scenery and outstanding service. The perfect way to end our stay in Botswana.

The weather started off hot, then cooled with rain before warming again. We had many leopard and lion sightings thanks to Ollie’s tracking skills. For the first time we watched them do more than sleep. And we saw so many birds. It was such a pleasure to be guided by someone so skilled who is also a photographer.

Alfred, who a certified sommelier, and chef Tonderai, create fabulous food and wine pairings - requiring long discussions and tastings late into the night. No one in camp has more fun than they do! As wine lovers we appreciated the perfect pairings they created.

Botswana’s Okavango Delta is a paradise. The landscape is varied and beautiful even when the water is not at its highest. And the wildlife viewing is outstanding.

Camp staff have been financially impacted by COVID. Many were at home without income for a year or more. Even now not all camps are open and there are not many guests in some camps. All guests must have a negative COVID PCR test before entering the country. Camp staff are masked and tested before coming to camp. And Wilderness has facilitated COVID vaccinations for staff and their families.

The people need us to visit. And when there are no tourists visiting, animals are at risk through increased poaching pressure. This is an excellent time to visit Botswana."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Olive Exclusive

Olive Exclusive

"Olive Exclusive review"

1 night Arrived 30 Oct 2021
"We spent one night here as a buffer between the Botswana and Namibia parts of our trip.

It was an excellent choice, close to the Eros airport, quiet, excellent food and comfortable. We would definitely stay here again even for multiple nights.

The staff was friendly and very helpful."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Little Kulala

Little Kulala

"Little Kulala review"

3 nights Arrived 31 Oct 2021
"Namibia is all about wide-open spaces, interesting geology, red dunes of the ancient Namib Desert and the night sky. We found it was the perfect counterpoint to the lushness of Botswana’s Okavango Delta and it is one of our favorite places on Earth.

Our first stop in Namibia was Little Kulala in the 27,000-hectare Kulala Wildernesses Reserve near Sossusvlei. Accommodations were more than comfortable and the food was delicious. And there is an underground wine cellar where you-know-who had dinner.

Heavy rains at the beginning of 2021 have the landscape looking almost lush, even in this harsh, desert environment. We saw many more springbok and oryx than on a previous visit.

Our time at Little Kulala was enriched by Markus’ guiding; his knowledge of the area’s flora, fauna and geology is extensive. And his knowledge of the night sky is unsurpassed. He quizzed us on Africa’s big 5, little 5 and the ugly 5. There was no slacking off in his safari vehicle.

Our morning in Sossusvlei began looking for footprints in the sand at a stop along the way where we spotted the pretty Dune Lark, endemic to Namibia’s dunes. Later in the morning, it was Markus’ easy manner that encouraged us to the top of Big Daddy, the 325-meter dune that provides a sweeping view of Deadvlei, Hiddenvlei and way beyond. And we practically had Big Daddy all to ourselves.

We enjoyed an early-morning hot air balloon ride, in spite of the 4am wakeup call, and the breakfast accompanied by sparkling wine that followed. Sunsets here are unsurpassed and be sure to get a look at the night sky when you’re here. Namibia should be on your to-visit list."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Ballooning in the Namib Desert

Ballooning in the Namib Desert

"Ballooning in the Namib Desert review"

1 Nov 2021 • Morning excursion

You have to get up early but it is worth it. Once you check in you are transported to the launch site and watch the crew setup and launch the balloon. Our captain, Denis, was amazing in how he controlled the balloon. He was even able to spin the ballon in a circle so everyone aboard could enjoy the same sight.

After a fairly gentle landing we had a great breakfast with sparkling wine in the dunes with ostriches wandering by.
Excellent
Damaraland Camp

Damaraland Camp

"Damaraland Camp review"

3 nights Arrived 3 Nov 2021
"The views around Wilderness Safaris’ Damaraland Camp and in the Torra Conservancy go on forever. The red earth is punctuated by ash bushes, euphorbia and the occasional shepherd’s tree. Look in another direction and you will see jumbles of rocks of every color, mountains of all shapes and eventually the wide, sandy Huab riverbed. And there are vistas that are otherworldly. It is a landscape that is at the same time harsh and so beautiful it will move you to tears.

The sight of a small family of desert-adapted elephants moving slowly across this vast, dry environment feels very lonely. Black rhino call this part of Namibia home as well. They are studied and kept safe through the efforts of Save the Rhino Trust whose trackers are in the field every day. These animals are magnificent, even when viewed from a great distance. Giraffe wander the vastness and watch safari vehicles bouncing along the rocky roads with curiosity. Springbok head for the hills when they hear us coming. Guinea fowl, aka ‘government chickens’ because no one owns them, wander in small flocks. We were fortunate to spot a family of double-banded sandgrouse with newly hatched chicks. It is amazing how many animals can exist is this difficult environment.

Damaraland camp is less fancy than any of the other camps we stayed in during this trip to Africa, but that doesn’t matter at all. The individual rooms are more than comfortable, and on a chilly evening we were thrilled to find hot water bottles in our bed when we returned from dinner. Camp manager Helen (of Troy), who called us Nancy (Drew) and Peter (Pan), has created a fun and musical camp atmosphere. The camp staff are the best and the food was outstanding.

Damaraland Camp put an exclamation point at the end of our best visit to Africa yet. You won’t want to miss it when you visit Namibia.

Note: The roads are very rough in this area if you have a sensitive back but that did not bother us."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

Our best vacation ever!

Namibia between 21 Sep 2018 and 12 Oct 2018

Trip rating: Excellent
"This was our second visit to Namibia and our first not organized as a group. After this experience we can say we much prefer traveling on our own. Expert Africa helped us organize the exact trip we wanted and it exceeded all our expectations. We were able to visit parts of Namibia was had not seen during our first visit.

The team member who organized our trip has first-hand knowledge of Namibia, which was very helpful. Expert Africa thought of every detail, provided comprehensive information and were responsive to us during our trip as well.

We are already planning our next trip to Africa and will use Expert Africa to plan that trip as well."

Hilltop Guesthouse

Hilltop Guesthouse

"Great view and comfortable accommodation "

1 night Arrived 23 Sep 2018
"Welcoming staff and delicious cool beverage upon arrival.

On this visit we had a large, comfortable room upstairs with a balcony where we ate breakfast. Breakfast was excellent (beginning with fruit and coffee and finishing with eggs and bacon) and a couple of other surprises.

Room and grounds, including pool, were impeccably clean. Staff was helpful in arranging transportation into town for us."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kalahari Anib Lodge

Kalahari Anib Lodge

"Great overnight stay"

1 night Arrived 24 Sep 2018
"We spent one night at Kalahari Anib Lodge on our drive from Windhoek to the Fish River Lodge. It was welcoming and fun.

Our room was small, but clean and artfully decorated. Grounds were well kept, including pool, and wildlife have free run of the grounds, which is really enjoyable. Our room had outdoor seating with a view of the grounds and pool.

We enjoyed the evening game drive and sundowner. We saw lots of animals, some we had never seen before. The Kalahari was in bloom and beautiful at the time of our visit near the end of September. We enjoyed lunch and dinner on the patio and enjoyed the campfire after dinner.

Highly recommended."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Fish River Lodge

Fish River Lodge

"Luxury on the edge"

5 nights Arrived 25 Sep 2018
"Food, service and accommodation at the Fish River Lodge were impeccable.

Rooms are large and artfully decorated. Large porch overlooks the Fish River Canyon. The lodge itself has outstanding views of the canyon with a pool lots of room to sit outside. Be prepared for windy conditions, weather is variable, and we were provided with earplugs for nighttime use. We only needed them one night.

We also enjoyed the two day hiking package, which was outstanding. Our guide, Andy, was knowledgeable and tailored our daily hikes according to our preference for distance and difficulty. Camps were unique with roomy tents, comfortable cots with sheets and duvets. Bucket showers were welcome as was hot water in the morning to wash up.

Food was excellent, on a par with what we enjoyed at the Lodge. We were amazed that they were able to provide the same quality, but from a camp kitchen. Breakfast and dinner were prepared in camp and we carried our bag lunch and water with us each day."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kalahari Red Dunes Lodge

Kalahari Red Dunes Lodge

"Good one night stay"

1 night Arrived 30 Sep 2018
"Our first impression of Kalahari Red Dunes Lodge was that it had seen better days, but our first impression was wrong. Once we stepped into the Lodge and then saw our room we were very impressed.

The rooms are very large and the most artful of any accommodation we had on this trip. There was a large sitting room, beautifully appointed covered outdoor siting area and outdoor shower. Bed was comfortable with mosquito netting and the bathroom included a large, open shower. Rooms were air-conditioned.

We were surprised by the delicious, multi-course dinner. Wine selection was good. Breakfast included fruit and yogurt plus a hot option.

We enjoyed the evening game drive and sundowner with game sightings. The area that is remote to the lodge has a wild feel, but the area around the lodge didn't seem quite as natural because feed is put out for the animals. That said, it was fun to watch the meerkats as we ate breakfast."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Hilltop Guesthouse

Hilltop Guesthouse

"Another comfortable night"

2 nights Arrived 1 Oct 2018
"This was our second stay during our time in Namibia. We had a smaller, downstairs room near the pool. Same attention to detail by the staff and same great breakfast.

We left some luggage on our first stay and only taken what we needed to the Fish River Lodge. Now we were able to switch to what we needed for the safari portion of our trip and left the other luggage. We would pick it up on our last stay before we left Namibia."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Desert Rhino Camp

Desert Rhino Camp

"Great rhino sighting"

2 nights Arrived 3 Oct 2018
"We initially booked Desert Rhino Camp in order to fill time between the other camps we wanted to visit, but it was one of the true highlights of our trip. The rhino viewing experience and learning about the work of Save the Rhino Trust Namibia made this visit very special. We were impressed with the work of the trust and how respectful the guest viewing of the animals is.

The landscape is beautiful, we saw many Welwitschia plants (Namibia's national plant), and we spent one evening viewing a family of spotted hyena. One morning we were able to view a rhino mother and her calf with the help of expert Save the Rhino Trust trackers. Afterwards we enjoyed lunch in the bush with a presentation by the trackers.

The camp is rustic, but still luxurious. Meru-style tents are roomy with ensuite toilet and shower. The lodge is open air with sweeping views and a fire pit. Food was delicious and tables were set beautifully for meals. Service was excellent. We had a very special experience one evening, but it's a surprise for when you visit."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

"Dry riverbeds, ocean and desert"

3 nights Arrived 5 Oct 2018
"The landscape is stark, but the lodge and rooms are far from that. This is the most striking Wilderness Safaris camp we have stayed at. The camp design is other worldly and accommodations luxurious. Rooms are very large and comfortable with views over a wide valley. En-suite bathroom includes double sinks, large open shower and separate toilet. Each "tent" includes a large, raised, covered stating area that includes a sofa, table and chairs and an outdoor refrigerator.

A highlight of this trip is a drive along the Hoanib River bed to the Skeleton Coast. The landscape changes constantly during the several-hour drive. The ocean along the skeleton coast is spectacular. I could have done without the stinky visit to the fur seal colony.

Evening and morning game drives along the Hoanib River bed were really beautiful and we saw many more animals than we expected. We saw all three of the resident elephant families, many oryx, a large tower of giraffe (that happened to amble by during one sundowner) and steenbok. We also enjoyed a presentation by a local brown hyena researcher. This camp has so much to offer."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Serra Cafema

Serra Cafema

"The new Serra Cafema"

3 nights Arrived 8 Oct 2018
"After recent floods Serra Cafema had to be rebuilt and had only been open three weeks before our arrival. It is spectacular! Raised walkways connect each thatch-roofed chalet to the main lodge. Our chalet overlooked the rapids along the Kunene River. Rooms are very large and include a large outdoor living and dining space and deck.

Food was outstanding and be prepared for dining surprises.

The pace here is slower than most safari camps and it is a perfect place to end your trip to Namibia. It is all about the scenery at this camp and the Himba people. The Hartmann Valley is wide and covered in grass. Jagged mountains and sand dunes ring the valley. Our visit to a Himba village was very enjoyable.

We appreciated the ability to tailor our activities at this camp. One morning we preferred to take a scenic drive rather than quad biking. Our guide, Limbo, was happy to accommodate our request."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Hilltop Guesthouse

Hilltop Guesthouse

"Back for a third time"

1 night Arrived 11 Oct 2018
"We ended our visit to Namibia at the Hilltop Guesthouse where we retrieved our luggage and had an evening to pack for the rest of our trip in Africa. The staff, as with both other visits, were excellent. We left too early the next morning to enjoy breakfast, but the owner surprised us with coffee in our room.

Our room this time was not as nice as the others we stayed in. Primarily, the shower floor very steep and difficult to stand on. Otherwise our room was comfortable and impeccably clean.

We really appreciate being able to leave our extra luggage at the Hilltop Guesthouse during the safari portion of our trip. Thank you!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

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