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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by FunOnly from Calgary

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

3

Lodges stayed in

8

Excursions taken

1

Botswana and Namibia Safari September 2019

Namibia and 2 other countries between 16 Sep 2019 and 6 Oct 2019

Trip rating: Excellent
"Our trip exceeded our high expectations for bucket list safari experience. Tracy, our coordinator at Expert Africa was easy to work with and tailored the trip to meet our needs. We appreciated that she had first hand knowledge of the camps that added weight to her recommendations.

In retrospect we should have added a couple extra days with no activities planned so that we could recharge our batteries. Ideally this would have been done in Namibia due to the stratospheric high cost of the lodges in Botswana.

Our Day trip to Sandwich Harbour was fantastic, and if we had to choose we would have ranked it higher than a scenic flight over the dunes. We had the best of both worlds as we needed to fly from Hoodia to Swakopmund so the excursion over the dunes was a no brainer addition."

Arranged By Tracy Lederer


Victoria Falls Hotel

Victoria Falls Hotel

"Frayed Victorian Grandeur"

2 nights Arrived 20 Sep 2019
"The Victoria Falls Hotel is a classic Victorian Colonial Hotel in a park like setting. The public areas are grand but the furniture looks tired and the rooms need a refurbishing. Air-conditioning was marginal and loud. In our digital age there are limited plugs and no USB charging outlets in the room, bedside lamps with charging outlets and USB ports would be a wonderful addition.

The staff were excellent, in particular the head bellman with his pith helmet and white uniform covered in pins from locations around the world! There is still an air of Victorian splendor and formality at the hotel.

There is a formal dining room but we did dine, as there is a formal dress code, people on safari only have a duffle bag with 20 lbs. which leaves no room for formal wear! The hotel should relax the dress code two or three nights a week to accommodate those guests. Fortunately there is an outdoor dining room overlooking the river valley was the highlight but watch out for the cheeky monkeys that try to steal table scraps!

Contrary to the information on their website the hotel does not have a view of the falls, one only sees the mist rising, and there is no direct access to the park associated with the falls. The only animals seen on the hotel grounds were the monkeys and tame warthogs."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Average
Food
Excellent
Muchenje Safari Lodge

Muchenje Safari Lodge

"Comfortable with an excellent view"

2 nights Arrived 22 Sep 2019
"This was our introduction to safari style accommodation. The rooms were solidly constructed and offered wonderful views from the patio attached. The lighting in the rooms could be improved, as it is difficult to read and built in charging outlets with USB would be a great addition.

The internet is only available at the main lodge and is slow WiFi repeaters in the rooms would be an excellent addition as you are not allowed to walk on the property after dark without the security staff escort. Guests have the feeling of being in a minimal security detention center after dinner locked the chalet. The family style dining provided the evening entertainment and opportunity to meet the other sophisticated and well-travelled guests.

We had an excellent knowledgeable guide, Ali, and the drives made up for any quibbles about the rooms. The night safari drive was our only disappointment as we had limited views of only a couple animals and could easily be skipped. The pontoon boat ride on the river was the highlight of our trip with an exceptional picnic lunch aboard while observing large herds of animals especially elephants that we estimated at about 300 animals.

This was our introduction to "The African Massage" on the deeply rutted poorly maintained trails of Chobe National Park. One of the ruts was so bad that my mobile phone flipped out of my pant pocket. I was extremely grateful and impressed that the guides found my phone after we departed. The Lodge had it air - shipped to me at the airport in Maun. The main delay in retrieval was that they found two identical phones the same day that could only be identified by the SIMM card inside! Carry all small items in a zipped pocket or bag when out on your safari drives!

We could easily have spent an extra two days at the lodge to decompress and and just laze around the pool."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Gomoti Plains Camp

Gomoti Plains Camp

"Gomoti Plains Camp review"

3 nights Arrived 24 Sep 2019
"Gomoti Plains Camp has been adversely affected by the multi-year drought. The area around the camp had no water in the pan that limited the number of sightings in the camp. The accommodation tents were the least luxurious on out trip to Botswana and Namibia. The tents were closed by flaps rather than a glass door so were very cold and noisy when the winds came up. The staff should have anticipated the adverse weather and preemptively closed the outside tent flaps before dark and the guest outside curfew.

The facilities at the lodge need attention, the internet was a joke, we were never able to get online. The swimming pool had green algae so were only used by the monkeys to drink from. The water was vey cold and it could easily be connected to a solar heated hot water system that would make it much more usable. The curio shop is tucked away in a separate tent and was never open even when advised by the staff that it would have bee. The electricity in the tent failed the first night for no obvious reason. A better internet service with WiFi in the tents along with a USB charging station would be a significant improvement. We also had some issue with linen in the tents.

Elephants roam the camp and were seen within 10 feet of the tents. There were two lion kills within 200 meters of the campsite so it is mandatory that the guides escort guests to their tents after dark. The water levels were so low that the motorized boat was unable to operate. The mokoro ride was disappointing with regards to wild life sightings. The boats are very unstable and we almost capsized. If i had it to do again I would leave my expensive camera at the lodge and take my waterproof camera with a change of dry clothes for the trip, OR I may skip it all together and sit in the pool (it had better water quality).

The highlight of the visit was the excellent and professional guide, Listor whom we had for the 3 days. He was able to show us the majority of the wildlife except Leopard, Cheetah and Rhino.

We enjoyed the family style dining with staff members present as we were able learn more about the daily lives and concerns of the local people. We would not return to this camp unless we were certain that the water levels were high enough to flood the areas close to the camp."
Average
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Average
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Average
Chitabe Lediba

Chitabe Lediba

"The most complete Safari experience"

2 nights Arrived 27 Sep 2019
"The Chitabe Lodge was the highlight of our 4 week trip to Africa. We wished that we had spent more time there, as two days were not enough. A rhino sighting was on our wish list and our excellent guide, Dennis, made it happen because of his excellent tracking skills, on the last morning before heading to the airport.

The lodge has been adversely affected by the drought so that the water is several hundred meters away instead of in front of the lodge. We had an idea of how spectacular the view could have been when we drove over the rustic wooden bridge leading away from the lodge.

The staff were wonderful, efficient and personable. It was pleasing to see that all the management team were Botswana natives and most were from the region surrounding the camp, it was clear that the camp was benefitting the local economy. The facilities at the camp were excellent but would be enhanced with WiFi serve in the tents and solar heating of the outdoor pool. These additions would be most appreciated by guests spending 3 or more days at the lodge, for a two day stay we were so busy that we did not have time to miss the amenities."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Olive Grove

Olive Grove

"OK for an overnight stay"

1 night Arrived 29 Sep 2019
"We arrived late in the evening and left the next morning. The bed was comfortable and the air conditioning efficient. Our room was up a steep flight of stairs so that that would not be a good location for guests with mobility issues. We looked at they pool and it appeared to be in poor condition with an over growth of algae.

We had an excellent breakfast with a varied menu. The staff were very friendly and accommodating. This a adequate place for an overnight but we would not consider it for a more prolonged stay."
Average
Location
Average
Service
Good
Facilities
Average
Rooms
Average
Food
Good
Hoodia Desert Lodge

Hoodia Desert Lodge

"More than just a stop to see the dunes"

2 nights Arrived 30 Sep 2019
"Hoodia Desert Lodge is a permanent structured camp with African styled architecture. The chalets are very comfortable and modern and have efficient air-conditioning. There are no dangerous predators nearby so we could walk back to the main and forth to the main lodge after dark.

The owner operators of the lodge live on site and has an excellent relationship with all the staff. They are passionate about the environment and spent extra to get their electrical power from non polluting renewable energy. The owner was driving us to the airport when he stopped suddenly by the roadside of the public road and got out of the SUV, on his return we realized that he had spotted a random bit of garbage in the ditch that he retrieved!

The common areas in the main lodge are very comfortable with excellent sitting area and bar. There is also a fast complimentary Internet, unfortunately they do not have repeater WiFi in the so it is unavailable in the rooms. If we had our trip to plan again we would have spent one or two extra days here lazing around the pool and recharging after two weeks of hectic daily sightseeing.

The dining experience was outstanding with very tasty choices on a menu that varied each day. Our guide to Sossusvlei, Lucas also coordinated the sundowner experience. Lucas was extremely, knowledgeable about the desert environment and also planned our day to minimize the crowds at the most popular attractions. He took us to a quiet location under Acacia trees where he rolled out a gourmet lunch, including a basin for hand washing! Sitting with a glass of cold sparkling wine and watching the Oryx and Ostrich wander by will be a lasting memory.

The private sundowner cocktails on the mountains were an exceptional experience and will be our lasting pleasant memory of Namibia for many years to come."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Hoodia Sossusvlei excursion

Hoodia Sossusvlei excursion

"A bucket list adventure"

1 Oct 2019 • All-day excursion

Our guide to Sossusvlei, Lucas, was extremely knowledgeable about the desert environment and also planned our day to minimize the crowds at the most popular attractions. He took us to a quiet location under Acacia trees where he rolled out a gourmet lunch with a variety of wine, even a basin for hand washing! Sitting with a glass of cold sparkling wine and watching the Oryx and Ostrich wander by will be a lasting memory.

Climbing the sand dunes are physically challenging and should be done early to minimize the heat. We were impressed that Lucas kept a close watch on how were faring and always has a plan B when the going got tough. We very pleased to have been in an air conditioned SUV rather than the open sided safari jeeps and trailer that is used by some lodges and the public transport system as the dust and heat was extraordinary.

Do not miss the opportunity to do the private sundowner cocktails on the mountain overlooking the lodge. Lucas also coordinated it. The private sundowner cocktails on the mountains were an decadent exceptional experience and will be our lasting pleasant memory of Namibia for many years to come.
Excellent
Villa Margherita

Villa Margherita

"Faded Old Mansion"

2 nights Arrived 2 Oct 2019
"The Villa Margarita is a historic mansion that has been converted to a B & B. It is a picture of faded elegance with musty smelling carpet and worn furnishings. The location is central to the historic down town with good restaurants within walking distance.

Swakopmund appears to be a town in transition with most of the new development occurring on the south end of town on the way to Walvis Bay and closer to the beach. I suspect that it will only be a few years before the downtown of Swakopmund dies, and Villa Margarita with it, unless some major development is undertaken.

Our stay was OK for 2 nights but would not be suitable for people wishing a modern hotel with all the conveniences. There are lots of these modern places on the beach"
Average
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Average
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Damaraland Camp

Damaraland Camp

"Great facility in rugged terrain"

2 nights Arrived 4 Oct 2019
"Our stay at Damaraland Camp was at the end of three busy weeks of Safari and sightseeing so we were a bit jaded and fatigued. We would have rated it excellent if we had started our trip there.

The property has well laid out chalets and very comfortable common areas. It was the only camp that offered WiFi in each individual chalet, but strangely it was not available at the main lodge! However given a choice it is better to have it in the chalets only if we had to choose!

Damaraland Camp had the strongest association with the local community and culture of all the camps in Namibia or Botswana. The traditional BBQ in the wooden stockade and the mountain top breakfast was special. We also loved that the staff sang in the local language and announced the dinner menu in both English and the "click" language.

Our Guide, Limbo, took us to see the desert adapted animals, including Elephant, Giraffe, Oryx and Springbok. The highlight was being able to track and view a Black Rhino at close range, an unexpected bonus!

The scenery here is true Desert and in a lot of ways is similar to the American southwest of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico but with terrible unimproved roads. The main difference is culture of the people and the presence of wildlife. Expect to spend two to three times as long if driving between destinations."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent

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