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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Sue from Cape Town

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

7

Excursions taken

1

Zimbabwe: still beautiful and welcoming

Zimbabwe between 25 Aug 2018 and 14 Sep 2018

Trip rating: Excellent
"It was a most rewarding experience. I lived in the country many years ago and was gratified to see that no matter what difficulties they face, the people are as welcoming and open and friendly as I remember. There are definitely challenges ahead, but I hope that there will be a gradual improvement in the economy. To this end, I would encourage tourists to visit the whole of Zimbabwe, and not just the outer northwest corner. The Eastern Highlands are indescribably beautiful, as are the Matobo Hills, Great Zimbabwe and the Zambezi Valley.

I suppose the unexpected thing about our trip was that apart from a delightful train journey which gave us double the travel time we had paid for, things actually do work. There were unavoidable delays from time to time, but there were no glitches in the arrangements made for local transfers or accommodation.

All in all it was a wonderful three weeks, and my thanks to EA for their excellent service.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

No improvements possible on the service we received from both Freddie and Claire.
We were picky and difficult and not altogether consistent, and they managed us brilliantly, thanks so much."

Victoria Falls Hotel

Victoria Falls Hotel

"Elegance and history"

2 nights Arrived 25 Aug 2018
"Whatever one may think of the colonials, they certainly knew how to live comfortably in the tropics. The VFH retains all the grace I remember from my childhood, with a few improvements, like a vibrant multicultural clientele.

It was a peaceful place to begin the trip, and I liked particularly the retention of history in the Bulawayo Room, and the paintings displayed in art gallery and elsewhere. I'd perhaps like to have stayed a day or two longer. It was a bit of a rush fitting in a brief trip to the Zambian side, and there were many things we didn't go to see, like the Big Tree.

The individual staff members at the hotel were very friendly and interesting to talk to. Lindani, the guard on the path to the Falls; a young waiter, whose name escapes me (Ashton?); and many others - all extremely helpful, not intrusive, and excellent conversationalists.

The hotel was also very accommodating when we needed food and drink for the overnight train to Bulawayo - the lovely packed lunch lasted us through two meals."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Ra-Ikane River Cruise

Ra-Ikane River Cruise

"Zambezi Close Up"

26 Aug 2018 • Afternoon excursion

The only slightly less-than-optimal thing about this cruise was the fact that if you don't get in the first half of the queue at the boat, then you don't get a seat next to the edge of the boat. If you don't know the people who did, you can't exactly lean across them to get a decent view. That said, it proved perfectly possible to find a gap at the rails at which one could stand and get a perfect view, although one did have to keep hopping back to the table get the very nice snacks.

However, once posted in the right place, the trip was wonderful. Our captain (Ephraim?) and steward (Dixon) were extremely well-informed about local history, wildlife, climatic conditions, traditions - all sorts of interesting things. Whatever one asked, one of the two could answer it. We saw elephant, crocodile and hippo and several birds, one of which was the apparently rarely sighted African Finfoot. The sunset was pure magic...

All the arrangements were smooth and punctual. A most enjoyable afternoon and evening.
Excellent
Banff Lodge

Banff Lodge

"Really a home from home"

2 nights Arrived 28 Aug 2018
"Comfortable room, great food, friendly service, and a front desk staff who went way beyond the call of duty to help us contact our transfer when our train was significantly delayed outside Bulawayo. A lovely place to stay, and within walking distance of the Hillside Dams which were pretty and peaceful.

The transfer to Banff was heroic, given that our train was 8 hours late. Lucky was endlessly patient and helpful.

Banff also arranged a wonderful driver (?Mr Justice) for us to go to Khami and to various places in Bulawayo itself. Khami is a very special place and I was grateful to get the chance to see it again. The railway museum is a must for anyone who has ever loved train travel. Gordon Murray the curator is a fount of extraordinary knowledge about the early days of Bulawayo and was most generous with his time and his stamp collection."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Amalinda Lodge

Amalinda Lodge

"Amalinda - a very special place"

4 nights Arrived 30 Aug 2018
"It's hard to find words to describe Amalinda - the rooms and amenities and food and service are right out of deluxe travel magazines, but the environment in which it all takes place is pure and untainted bushveld, and the animals and birds are so close they can touch you.

Our "room" was palatial, beautifully designed and equipped, spotlessly maintained (even the odd lizard in the shower was freshly laundered), and a fine place to sleep peacefully after each day's adventures, but the minute one was in the bush, on foot, tracking a guide who was tracking a rhino, civilisation slipped away and one's world consisted of the grass and the trees and the animals. There was nothing contrived or artificial about the game experiences, except I suppose for the protection of the rangers and guides, and that was not something I would have traded.

Game drives were a constant source of pleasure, and the rhinos were co-operative in the main, despite the distress of the removals a few days before. The visit to the children's home and the village were most interesting. I appreciated the chance to speak with local residents and hear their thoughts about various things. Our fellow guests were a fascinating selection from several countries and cultures. Dinner conversation was most absorbing. I also particularly liked a collection of old books in the open air library with a view.

Special mention of our driver, Mr Edward, who was wonderfully knowledgeable, an ace game spotter, always cheerful and helpful, and a very interesting person to talk to. All the staff were competent, friendly and helpful, but Mr Edward was a stand out. Just to add that while we were there, the staff were almost all involved in fighting a serious fire a short distance from Amalinda, and yet still managed to produce superlative meals and keep the atmosphere unruffled. Bravo!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Banff Lodge

Banff Lodge

"Banff Lodge review"

2 nights Arrived 3 Sep 2018
"See previous [Ed: See this traveller's review of their earlier stay at Banff - below.]"
Excellent
Armadale Lodge

Armadale Lodge

"Armadale Lodge - an unusual experience"

1 night Arrived 5 Sep 2018
"Armadale Lodge is a cross between an art gallery and a hotel.

The garden is idyllic, the pool is crystal clear, the drinks are cool and near at hand and the staff are ever ready to assist. But the artefacts and paintings are mind-blowing. I wished I had more time just to sit and wonder. It would have been good to know where each came from and what its provenance was, but realistically I'm not sure how that would be possible.

Overall a most enjoyable stay, thanks you."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Stretch Ferreira Safaris Camp

Stretch Ferreira Safaris Camp

"A peace of paradise "

3 nights Arrived 6 Sep 2018
"We started on a disappointing note as our flight out of Harare was delayed by an official VIP having to land first, but once we arrived at Goliath, the magic began. We literally landed into a lion tracking trip and our first afternoon was spent up close and personal with two (fortunately) lazy lions. Dinner around the campfire was delightful, and breakfast at 5.30 am only slightly less so. Game drives every morning and afternoon/evening produced a plethora of extraordinary wild-life experiences. It was a little like living in a David Attenborough documentary.

Stretch and Al are an amazing team. From time to time they constitute a knockabout comedy act all by themselves, but their knowledge of the environment, their skills around wild animals and their ability to anticipate what their guests might need are legendary. Many of my best photographs are the ones where Stretch was nudging us forward saying, "Come, it'll make a good shot", or where Al had sped us through the dust to catch the sun rising behind a steaming buffalo herd.

They are ably supported, and sometimes managed, by Megan, Reuben and others we did not meet. The effect of the whole is of invisible clockwork behind a smoothly running machine. Not that there are no dramas or diversions. The odd mishap with a vehicle in a river, the occasional stubborn refusal of wild dogs to move on, an elephant and her calf threatening to come between us and our breakfast, and the inevitable effects on ageing frames of extreme physical activity - but the overall sense was one of peace and a deep love for the place.

Mana Pools is wild and ancient, and Goliath has retained the sense of this while providing extremely comfortable tents with enchanting under-the-stars showers. G&T's on the river bank at sundown, coffee and magical muffins under a massive tree for elevenses, long siestas in the mid day heat, and lullabies of hippo-snuffling wafting over the water.

I have to go back for more..."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Armadale Lodge

Armadale Lodge

"Armadale Lodge review"

2 nights Arrived 12 Sep 2018
"See previous [Ed: See this traveller's review of their earlier stay at Armadale - below.]"
Excellent

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