Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs G from Cottenham
Total number of trips
Lodges stayed in
Namibia, Botswana and Vic Falls Trip
Namibia and 2 other countries between 24 Nov 2022 and 14 Dec 2022
Having used Expert Africa before, we once again found the quality of the service exceptional, coupled with benefiting from the teams in depth knowledge of the countries we were visiting. We once again found Namibia to be a wonderful country, and very easy to self drive around. We absolutely loved exploring the areas of Botswana on our itinerary, and meeting the friendly people of Zimbabwe around the amazing Victoria Falls. Every petrol station we stopped at had fuel available, and all accepted payments by card or in cash.
All lodges have Wifi, usually available in the main lodge area, but we found quite often our room would be close enough to this to be able to use it there. The was a noticeable difference between the quality of the roads in Namibia (good) when compared to those we used in Botswana (not so good)."
"One night Windhoek stopover"
Okonjima Bush Camp
"Okonjima Bush Camp review"
We arrived from Windhoek in time for lunch, and we had already been pre booked onto the afternoon activity, starting at 4pm. We were staying for two nights, so signed up for further morning, afternoon and night activities to keep us occupied for our time here. The room is very well equipped, and we also enjoyed the 'open air sala' lounge area next door to relax and drink tea whilst observing the wildlife between activities.
We enjoyed all of our meals here and think the food is excellent. Gideon, our guide was great and very knowledgeable. We shared a safari vehicle with 4 other guests for all activities bar one (which they didn't do). It was also nice to catch up with Opari, our guide from 4 years ago.
As like last visit, we are very impressed with the levels of research and conservation that takes place at Okonjima. We hope to return again!"
"2 nights in Damaraland"
We also organised an activity with the lodge to view the desert adapted elephants that live in the nearby Huab River ecosystem (which was dry at the time of our visit). Bernard took us on this excursion, and it was great. Just to reiterate the point raised earlier about our car hire - plenty of self drive vehicles were also undertaking this activity, as they had hired from companies that allowed 'off roading'. Having spoken to one of said self driving couples at a later date, they took three days to find the elephants, whereas Bernard knew exactly where they were, so perhaps it was for the best that our car hire company did not allow us to venture off the beaten track!
The food was very good; a large variety of hot and cold options at breakfast, and good options for dinner too, especially on our second evening which was a braai.
We were also pleased with the room, and the option of wheeling out the bed to sleep under the stars. Hopefully the next guests will fare slightly better than us - Alexa was worried about possible insect bites so tucked herself firmly in under multiple covers, which led to her getting too hot so she wheeled herself back inside after an hour or so. I stayed out, to be awoken by rain. By the time I had wheeled myself back inside, the rain had stopped, but as it was the middle of the night i hadn't the motivation to wheel myself out again! It does get very windy from approx 2pm, which lasts until the sun sets."
"Okaukuejo Camp review"
There are a few forms to fill out at check in. Luckily we were 2nd in line, as a large queue formed in the office as we waited. There is a separate line for check in and for park fees, so I quickly sorted the fees and bought a map of the park from the shop across the way whilst Alexa queued whilst the group in front of us finished checking in. There are now signs around the site requesting that cards are used over cash for payments, although you can still use both. You need to purchase credit vouchers to use the wifi, so we did not bother.
We also found the food in the evenings to be absolutely fine, albeit a very limited menu, (chicken, beef or Hake with veg) and the service was good. This may have just been a matter of timing - as we sat down various patrons at other tables were getting very angry and were demanding to be allowed to order or chasing up where their food was. I should also say for for the interests of balance, these same patrons then painstakingly went through said v short menu, asking ridiculous questions.
Our waitress took our order promptly, and the food itself did not take very long to arrive. Breakfast had cold options such as yoghurts, meat, cheeses, fruit salad and cereals laid out, as well as bread / toast with a choice of a few condiments. There is also a hot trolley with bacon, beans and sausages + scrambled egg, and a chef on hand to cook omelettes etc . A tea and coffee station is always available to use (as long as a jolly dutchman does not mistake the milk urn for a teapot, and chuck in a few teabags before realising his mistake and sidling off!) We arrived back for breakfast (06.30-09.30) at about 09.20 from a game drive both mornings, which gave us enough time to eat all we wanted at a leisurely pace before it was cleared away.
The room is alright, but the decor was looking a little tired in places. It has a large bed and mosquito nets, air conditioning and an en suite. It also has a small kitchenette with fridge, kettle, sink and hob + a small sofa and coffee table. We did have an issue with the flush on our toilet, which we reported straight away after we arrived. Someone did come out and attend to it whilst we were on an afternoon game drive, but it never fully worked for the entirety of our stay. This didn't really bother us too much, as there were other blocks of toilets nearby that we could use, or we were out on game drives anyway. The rooms closest to the waterhole look newer, larger, and more luxurious, so future guests could try to get into one of these if they are worried about the standards of the rooms in general.
The staff did not ask about any itinerary of items when we checked out, but we had taken some picture of the room when we arrived and leaving just in case. Check out was a very simple process. We also filled up with fuel here just before checking out. The card machine here had temporarily stopped working, but they seemed to have plenty of fuel for guests. There is a new petrol station about 5km south of the Anderson gate outside the park."
"Mushara Outpost review"
The food here was excellent, and the lodge was very accommodating in its meal times to allow us to maximise our time in Etosha, as we stayed in until closing at 19.10 both evenings. The breakfast options were laid out for us to help ourselves to when we came back from the park at 09.30, with the usual large array of choice, and hot options cooked up for us too. The second evenings meal was a braai, where there was an extremely large selection of cooked meats, salads and accompaniments. The homemade coleslaw was delicious.
We made use of the laundry service on offer here. This service was very good, but we noted subsequently when comparing with other lodges, it was slightly more expensive for us to have done it here than elsewhere. The swimming pool area is not overly large, but was a very nice, relaxing environment. We also checked out the on site waterhole, and saw several different types of antelopes. They also have a resident 'mob' of meerkats. We also saw a genet on the path back to the room after dinner.
It was a quiet time to visit the lodge, on the first evening, there was one other party of Americans, who had also driven across the park from Okaukuejo like us. On the second night another couple from the UK had arrived. There was ample opportunity to talk to fellow guests, especially around an outdoor firepit at dusk with drinks, but we all dined at separate tables."
Hakusembe River Lodge
"1 night stopover between Etosha and Botswana"
The african hoopoe mentioned in an earlier review still had its young in a nest located in a trunk of a tree just by the car park. There were also many other species including our favourite, the lilac breasted roller.
We enjoyed drinks on the main lodge view deck over the river, and watched the local villagers on the Angolan side go about their evening chores on the opposite river bank. There were also several shoals of tigerfish close to the river bank below the viewing deck.
Food here was good. Like other Gondwana Collection lodges, the meals are all self service buffets, with a large variety of dishes to choose from. Springbok steak, quiche, salad, soup, chips / potato wedges, vegetables and more. Breakfast was similar, with plenty of the usual cooked options to choose from, as well as yoghurts, 'continental' meats and cheeses, pastries, toast etc.
The staff were all very friendly and attentive, and we enjoyed our stay here."
"Nxamaseri Lodge review"
We were greeted at the lodge by Amos, who checked us in and let us know what different activities we could do. We arranged for a boat excursion on the delta at 4pm, and to be driven to the Tsodilo Hills early the next morning. The birdlife here is excellent. System was very knowledgeable on everything in the delta, and we saw many types of kingfisher,cormorants, bee eaters, fish eagles, yellow billed kites, mourning doves, coppery tailed coucals, the 'go away' bird, as well as others. In the main Okavango channel (Cubango River), we also saw hippos and crocodiles. We dined that evening at a table of 4 with the only other guest at the lodge, and Action, another member of staff. Dinner was good, although we did eat it in near darkness as there was an issue with the lighting on the viewing deck, and also the Wifi (which was sorted the next day).
System also was our driver to the Tsodilo Hills. The road is approx 40km long, and is in a very poor condition. Ollie from the lodge also came with us, as she had packed a delicious lunch that she would prepare for us once we had finished our tour of the hills. Once at the hills we were introduced to our local guide, Lopang. He was very enthusiastic about the area, its importance and significance, which he shared with us in an informative and friendly manner. We started on the female hill, and then incorporated parts of the 'Lion' and 'Rhino' trails to get an excellent overview of the sites history, and to view the rock art and other points of interest. We finished the activity in the museum, before heading back to the lodge (which due to the road conditions is a journey of approx 2 hours).
We went out for another birding excursion on the boat with System at 5pm, which was just as interesting as yesterday, except there was also a storm in the distance for added drama. We then all sat at one large table for dinner with the guests that had arrived that afternoon, and several members of staff. It was a self service buffet of pork chops, mash, veg and salad, with starters and dessert served by Ollie.
N.B. We had not got any Botswanan Pula ahead of crossing the border, we assumed we could use an atm like in Namibia just to withdraw some. There were a couple of banks in Shakawe, but the queues were exceptionally long, and none of them seemed to be dispensing any cash. There is no cash machine at the Mohembo border, but the card machines there worked for us to pay for our car permit. Also remember to retrieve all paperwork from the officials before you leave. We handed over our car cross border permit to allow the official to copy down the car details. We didn't get given it back in the bundle of documents and our passports, which led a fraught 20 mins or so when crossing back into Namibia a few days later, until we remembered that we had given it to them. We still then had to conduct a search of their office before it turned up in a pile of paperwork!"
Jackalberry Tented Camp
"Jackalberry Tented Camp review"
We had instructions to meet a vehicle from Jackalberry at the Wuparo Conservancy Office at Sangwali village. Unfortunately we never found this office, or the vehicle. This was undoubtedly our fault; we had contact numbers to make contact with the lodge, but our phones were not working. Helpfully though there is only one track from the village to the lodge to start with. Signs dotted along the way when more tracks converge encourage you that you are indeed heading in the right direction, so we were able to arrive at the lodge under our own steam, and we enjoyed this 'game drive' through the national park to get to it. It should be noted that it was the dry season, so attempts to do this when it is wet perhaps should not be encouraged.
We arranged to do an afternoon boat trip once we arrived, and then morning and afternoon game drives in the lodge's vehicle for the following day. These were all done with Robson as our guide. The main lodge is built around a tree, which is where all of our meals were served, and our tented room was a short walk away. There are no fences around the camp, so we would often see warthog and other small game from outside our bedroom window."
Muchenje Safari Lodge
"Great lodge just over the Ngoma Bridge"
The staff were all welcoming and friendly. Breakfasts and lunches were informal with group seating allowing to meet and interact with other guests. At dinner, the starter and dessert was brought out to you at the tables, with the main being self service. The food was tasty, with a variety of options to choose from at each mealtime.
We arranged to be out on game drives first thing in the mornings and in the afternoons, and also opted for the after breakfast boat trip on the waters near Sedudu Island (an hour away at Kasane). This included lunch on the boat. The afternoon game drive started from there, slowly wending our way back to the lodge by sunset. For all activities we were with a group of other guests (5 of us in the vehicle). Philly was our guide, who was very knowledgeable and good company. He and other members of staff invited us to watch the England vs France world cup match with them, which was god fun.
We enjoyed our stay."
"Great 2 days at Vic Falls"
We enjoyed all the activities that the area had to offer (booked independently through wild horizons). We particularly liked the little bamba sunrise tram ride onto the victoria falls bridge. We also enjoyed the lookout cafe for drinks & lunches. On the sunset cruise we saw crocodiles, hippos and a variety of birdlife. On the drive from the Botswana / Zimbabwe border to the lodge we also saw an elephant.
N.B. The white water rafting departs at 7am, so it needs to be booked at least the day before."
Namibia and 1 other country between 16 Nov 2018 and 8 Dec 2018
Personally for us, once we had left Cape Town we were very eager to cross into Namibia. As such we would have been prepared to have driven longer distances to gain an extra day or two in Namibia (e.g. a one night stop half way between Cape Town and Canyon Lodge).
Overall, it was a brilliant itinerary. Tracy was in continuous contact and accommodated our request to be able to explore Kolmanskop. The Expert Africa team are clearly very knowledgeable and well connected, and went out of their way to ensure we could have an incredible honeymoon within the confines of our budget. The pack they sent to us was also very comprehensive (including a detailed road map), and we would recommend them to anyone wishing to explore Namibia (safe in the knowledge their team would be on hand if there were any issues).
Thank you to Tracy and all at Expert Africa - we had the trip of a lifetime and hope to return in the future!"
"Great place to start the trip"
The staff were very friendly and helpful, the buffet breakfasts enormous, and the gardens and setting are very picturesque."
"Great stop on way to Namibia"
We were very pleased with the restaurant recommendation of 'Michaels' for that evening, just up the road, which was probably one of the best meals we had on our whole trip.
The next day we explored the Cederberg Wilderness area, finishing up at the Cederberg winery for a quick tasting in the afternoon."
"Pit stop before border crossing."
The owner was very friendly, and gave us a good recommendation for dinner in town.
We were able to head into Springbok the next morning for a few supplies before heading onto the border, after a good breakfast."
"Amazing Lodge "
We did the short sunset walk on our first evening, where we enjoyed the spectacular scenery, and watched several Oryx in and around the Lodge. This was followed by a delicious meal.
The next morning we did the sunrise walk before breakfast, and then we drove ourselves to the Fish River Canyon.
We came back to the lodge for our afternoon game drive activity and sundowner drinks, before another great dinner. We particularly enjoyed this drive.
Jackson was our guide for all our our activities (just us and Jackson - no other guests), and he was great fun and very knowledgeable.
Just a note on wildlife - we were told that there were no giraffe or black rhino in the area as it was too dry. we also saw a black backed jackal catch a hare on the walk back to our room, which was really cool."
"We wish we had stayed longer!"
For this reason we didn't arrive at our accommodation until that evening. We were given a very warm welcome, and had a great night's stay in the chalet. Unfortunately, after a great breakfast, we moved on to our next lodge, so didn't do any activities whilst here.
N.B on wildlife - informed there are no cheetah in this area. On the road from Aus to Luderitz we saw Ostrich,Oryx, a Jackel and wild horses. We also saw a scorpion whilst driving to our chalet in the headlights after dinner!"
Hoodia Desert Lodge
"Great Lodge outside Sossusvlei"
We were given a very warm welcome, the main lodge was very comfortable and our room was great, especially the outside shower! All the food was delicious, and the staff were all very friendly and helpful."
Hoodia Sossusvlei excursion
27 Nov 2018 • All-day excursion
He drove us to a special location for some sundowner celebratory drinks and nibbles (for just us two). During the Sossusvlei excursion, he also managed to find a few dancing white lady spiders in their sandy dens whilst also explaining the geography of the area. He challenged us to climb (and run down) the 'big daddy' dune in an hour, which was great fun, if not slightly daunting at first!
We then had a fantastic lunch/picnic under some trees with Oryx and zebra in the distance, before returning to the lodge in the afternoon.
The accommodation was very smart and comfortable, and the food was excellent (again bearing in mind the location of the lodge - and the fact it hadn't rained there in 7 years).
"Great place on the coast"
Peter is very friendly and helpful, and provides a hearty breakfast each morning. We were given great recommendations for restaurants and for excursions, all of which was organised for us by Rowena (I am not 100% sure we are remembering her name, but think it's Rowena!) She was extremely helpful and friendly, despite clearly being kept very busy by some other guests! We ate at the Tug, and then we also ate at the restaurant at the end of the pier the next night. Both were amazing, with excellent seafood and drinks.
We would also like to recommend Oryx Aluminium Canopies. We had rented our car from Bushlore - who we would also like to recommend, and had an issue with the toyota hilux rear hood cracking from bouncing around on the gravel roads. We were contacted within ten minutes of reporting the issue, and told to drop off the car there whilst we did our morning activity, and it was returned to us as good as new!"
Erongo Wilderness Lodge
"Great bird viewing"
There was slight confusion with staff discussing the access to Paula's Cave to see the rock art, as our road map showed we could drive to it ourselves (not possible), but this did not ditract from a great stay.
We did try to find it initially, before driving around other parts of the conservency, looking for the other rock art marked on the map. This was at the AiAiba lodge. We saw springbok and 3 groups of baboons!
We made it back for the sundowner excursion, which was very enjoyable and had fantastic views. On Saturday morning, we went on an early morning excursion with Bony. This was also great fun, and we saw more baboons.
We only wish we could have spent more time relaxing on our balcony taking in the fantastic vista (although it was extremely hot)!"
"Amazing location next to Etosha"
On Sunday and Monday morning, we got up at 5.30am to breakfast and head out into Etosha again for opening at sunrise (6:15am). We were slightly disappointed that seemingly the breakfast was geared up for guests who were being driven into the parks for the 7am excursion (served from 6:30am-9am), and that we were only able to get food items after a kind member of staff felt sorry for us looking hungry!
As we were in Etosha for the afternoons, we were unable to go on the guided drive (afternoons only) in the Ongava Lodge reserve.
The watering hole at the lodge provided amazing viewing each evening, the hightlight being an altercation between a white rhino + baby, and a cantankerous black rhino, swiftly followed by a lioness with 6 cubs then being charged at by the same cranky black rhino!
We covered 1000Km from Saturday afteroon to Tuesday mid morning, and absolutely loved every minute we were in Etosha.
Another point of note was that our accomodation didn't have a fridge to store cold water, but this was available ftrom the dining area. There was restricted access to the accomodation in the evenings (requiring a member of staff to walk back with you), so guests just need to remember to fill up with water before heading back to their room in the evenings."
Okonjima Bush Camp
"Our Favourite Lodge"
We signed up for all the activities. Opari was our guide for the whole time (and Usha for the night activity to the hide out). Opari was absolutely hilarious, and extremely knowledgeable about all the conservation and activities that the foundation undertakes.
The first afternoon we went looking for leopards, and found two young brothers sleeping not far from each other. During the night activity we saw a porcupine and brown hyena (which seemed to know where we were headed) at the hide out.
The next morning, we took part in the cheetah walk. We tracked them for a little while before they decided to have a nap!
In the afternoon, we took part in the rhino tracking activity, but we asked if we could track leopards as well. We were extremely fortunate that we came across the rhino in the area where the biggest leopard also was active, so we were able to follow rhino on foot, and then track and eventually follow the leopard, which came right up to the jeep. All activities were incredible experiences.
The staff were extremely accomodating and friendly. We particularly enjoyed the educuational centre, rehabilitation centre and newsletters, learning about the foundation's research and medical provision for the animals. We are indebted to such reserves rescuing and protecting wild animals and making every effort to successfully rehabilitate them into the wild.
N.B - at the time of our visit, the wild dog pack had become too large for the reserve, so had been moved to an alternative location. Understandably, sightings of certain animals isn't guaranteed. The foundation are continually working hard to understand the balance of different animals in an ecosystem which is (currently) relatively small. We hope they continue to expand the site and the good work into the future."
"Convenient last stop in Windhoek"
The staff were very friendly and were able to book a table at the restaurant of our choice. The rooms were clean and functional.
The night guard in particular was very friendly and welcoming."
They booked our dinner reservation for us (Leo's at the Castle - highly recommend). Very convenient location coming from the airport. Room was fine for our needs.
There was continental and a cooked breakfast on offer, plus cereals, yoghurts etc.
There is secure off road parking for your vehicle."