Travel reviews by Mary from Cornwall
Total number of trips
Lodges stayed in
Tanzania and Zanzibar Experience Oct/Nov 2018
Tanzania and 1 other country between 24 Oct 2018 and 8 Nov 2018
We didn't have to worry about any of the arrangements and were met when we were supposed to be met and given clear instructions of timings to be collected. The safari camps were different in their own way but were both most satisfactory. The free laundry service was an added bonus and our rooms (tents) were kept spotlessly clean and tidy. At Impala Camp we had our own Masai man to escort us to and from our tents in case there were any visiting animals. He was always there and yet was unobtrusive.
The only concern was the tipping system, particularly in Mwagusi Camp. Here it appears the staff were only given their tips once a year, including the guides. We would have preferred to tip the guides separately as we did in Impala. We were put in a difficult position and this needs to be sorted.
It is essential to have cash! Neither camp had the facility to pay by card. We also needed to pay by cash at the hotel in Dar es Salam because their internet was down.
Pongwe Beach Hotel was almost the icing on the cake."
We are really pleased to hear that these travellers had such an amazing time in Tanzania, both on safari and on the beach. The tipping system can very subtly between each safari camp, and we can appreciate their concerns regarding the tipping situation at Mwagusi, and we contacted the camp for further information. Talking with the management at Mwagusi they told us that all tips are pooled together, and that this is then apportioned at the end of the season. This system has been chosen and voted for by all the staff at Mwagusi. By pooling and splitting tips in this manner it allows staff to receive a larger sum of money once a year, which they can then invest in projects such as building homes. Mwagusi’s managers accept that this the way their team want this to work – and tell us that it provides a platform enabling their staff to create their own opportunities. By apportioning tips once a year they also note that it provides a financial safety net, should other resources become drained. Inevitably this system doesn’t please everyone, but this is the system that the camp uses because the majority of the team have chosen it.
Arranged By Lyndsey Marris
Southern Sun Dar
"Southern Sun Dar review"
"Selous Impala Camp Review"
We had a boat trip the first afternoon and met Ezra in the bar before supper to discuss the next day. We were woken at 6am with coffee and cake and began our morning drive at 6.30am. Our first safari, we were so excited. Another boat trip in the afternoon and back for a delicious supper. We had our own waiter for every meal and suppers were sometimes on the veranda of the restaurant and sometimes in a secluded spot with a bonfire to give us light. For the last two days we opted for a full day excursion so had breakfast and lunch in the bush - with a table and chairs! The most memorable lunch was by a lake, under a tree for shade, watching hundreds of large birds wading and catching fish - herons, pelicans, spoonbills, marabou storks to name a few. Ezra was an amazing guide and could answer any questions we threw at him.
At the camp we were allotted our own Masai to walk us wherever we wanted to go. This was because the camp was unfenced so open for animals as well as people. We had to call "Jambo Masai" when we wanted to leave the tent and he would appear and escort us to wherever we needed to go and wait until we were ready to return. He was very discreet. The camp had a swimming pool which was a treat after a whole day out in the bush.
The staff were all so friendly and obviously worked well as a team."
Mwagusi Safari Camp
"Mwagusi Safari Camp Review"
We got the impression that several of the workers were not happy with the tipping system as they only got their share every year. This put us in an awkward position. We feel the Guide, who spends hours each day with us, should be tipped separately, and the others should receive their share of the general tip at regular intervals.
It was wonderful to have the free laundry service and our houseboy, Kuno, tidied up beautifully each day.
We saw numerous sightings of animals including a beautiful female leopard asleep in a tree. Our guide spotted lizards or small birds as easily as elephants or giraffes!"
Pongwe Beach Hotel
"Pongwe Beach Hotel Review"
The food was excellent, rooms totally satisfactory and all the staff friendly and helpful. It had a large inter tidal zone which was fascinating. It was possible to walk out a long way at low tide and spot star fish, sea urchins and other sea life as well as the sea weed beds which provide a living for the local women. Nothing seemed too much trouble for the staff. Each afternoon one of the boat crew would shin up a palm tree to cut down coconuts to give out to anyone who wanted a drink of fresh coconut milk. Staff also came round with trays of fresh fruit. Tea and coffee were available all day.
The rooms were provided with pretty beach robes so there was no need to change out of swim wear if you needed to get a cup of tea, or if you felt you had had enough sun. At high tide the beach was cut off and was private and at low tide, when you could walk along the beach to the nearby village, we were never bothered by locals selling their wares because Masai men patrolled the beach.
We went to Stone Town for a day because we felt we ought to, and although we enjoyed seeing people going about their daily business it was lovely to return for a refreshing swim in the warm sea at Pongwe. In hindsight we wished we had visited the Anglican Cathedral which now houses the Slave Trade Exhibit. We will have to return one day!"
First impressions were how friendly and helpful the Tanzanian people are.
Sadly a rain shower stopped a quick dip in the pool."