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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Ms M from Isleworth

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

8

Excursions taken

0

My 70th Birthday celebratory tour

South Africa between 14 Oct 2019 and 5 Nov 2019

Trip rating: Excellent
"Overall it was completely fantastic the slight bumps did not cause us any major issues.

The country is fantastic, the animals were amazing but the people win my vote. The Xhosa people are warm, friendly, helpful with a high work ethic and an eagerness to learn, a joy to interact with.

We went from the old world glamour of the Blue Train to the vibe of the modern city of Cape Town. Then we enjoyed the laid back artistic atmosphere of Franschoek followed by whale watching at Hermanus and the surfing town that is Plettenberg. We needed with the amazing waterhole watching at Gorah followed by the long drives into the bush to see a wide range of local fauna and flora at Kwandwe."

Arranged By Tracy Lederer


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131 on Herbert Baker Boutique Hotel

"131 Herbert Baker Boutique "

1 night Arrived 15 Oct 2019
"It is a lovely comfortable hotel but a long way outside of Pretoria central in a residential area. It suited us as we were tired and we did not go into Pretoria. Might not suit everyone.

The food was not up to the standard we later experienced. They recommended sharing the bbq whole chicken but when cut it looked more like half a chicken had been cut and so one person had all the bones. Luckily we were able to share the meal. The breakfast was nice.

They forgot our requirement for twin beds when they upgraded us apparently. The room was large and beautiful at the back overlooking a game reserve - though all we saw were birds! It is a lovely comfortable hotel where we could spend the morning resting and watching the bird life before our transfer to the Blue Train. The staff were very friendly and treated us as if we were guests in their house. As in so many hotels no light over the dressing table!"
Good
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
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Blue Train

"Blue Train"

2 nights Arrived 16 Oct 2019
"It was wonderful, brilliant staff, our butler, and bar tender especially. The cabin was small but beautiful formed and the ensuite well planned. We loved being rocked to sleep.

One piece of feedback for the Train operators. The layout of the non smoking cocktail bar and the observation car need to be thought about. the club car which is for smokers is a much nicer layout. The furniture in the cocktail bar is against the walls making group seating and meeting people difficult. There are not enough seats in the observation car. We loved the whole experience including the trip to Kimberley.

Even though the countryside is Karoo dessert from a couple of hours outside Pretoria to a couple of hours outside Cape Town we enjoyed seeing Africa. Some people moaned that it was not picturesque like the European or Canadian trains. The food was lovely and the house wines delicious. But it was the staff that made it for us."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Bay Hotel

Bay Hotel

"Bay Hotel, Camps Bay "

5 nights Arrived 18 Oct 2019
"The Bay Hotel is a modern, light seaside hotel in the middle of Camps Bay near to many restaurants and amenities and directly opposite the stop for the Red Bus city site seeing tours.

Our room was large with a separate area for sitting and nice comfy beds. there was room to hang clothes and keep you suitcases out of the way.

Breakfast was very nice and freshly cooked and taken in the restaurant with panoramic views of the ocean"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
The Last Word Franschhoek

The Last Word Franschhoek

"The Last Word Franschhoek review"

2 nights Arrived 23 Oct 2019
"This is a boutique hotel which is set up as it was if you are visiting a friends house for the weekend.

There is a wonderfully decorated large sitting area with a free bar. The staff were charming and helpful. Our room was a superior room and was massive with a chaise longue and a sofa. the decor throughout was stunning. We were at the back of the hotel with a view of the hillside but with a haulage yard directly below us, it caused us no problems as we are early risers. It is very well situated for walking out down the main street to the many shops and restaurants.

The breakfast was lovely as cooked for you so there is a wait for the hot food. Please note they quite understandably do not do dinner any more as they cannot compete with the excellent restaurants.

We did the Wine Tram tour with lunch. It was the most disappointing thing we did. The food was fine but we did not have wine tasting with the food we just had house wine. The wine they gave us to taste, without any cheese or crackers, was this year's yet they kept telling us it needed to be kept for 2 years to be at its best. To be honest the wine at La Gran Provence was dreadful. The scenery was lovely, the estate beautiful but the wine was a wash out. the last stop La Brie was nice as they paired the red wine with chocolate, much more what we were expecting."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
The Marine

The Marine

"The Marine, Hermanus"

2 nights Arrived 25 Oct 2019
"A lovely positioned hotel right on the cliff top. Our superior room was on the ground floor with access to a private patio overlooking the ocean in two directions.

Unfortunate the weather was cool so we only sat there one sunny morning for about one hour. We did see whales - they have had a bad season - so we were happy. The town of Hermanus seems to close for the off season and the restaurants were not up to the standard at Franschoek being mainly grill type with very similar menus. I think if you had a car or were prepared to walk away from the cliff side road you might do better.

When we left we could not pay by card as they were having problems with their wifi - it had been fine everywhere else. So we had to pay in cash as our driver was waiting. However when I checked the bill when we arrived at Plettenberg there was a 200R additional charge. I queried this as the hotels are in the same group and they said it was for an additional key which we never had. They agreed with us as we had not asked for one at Plettenberg. It should be being refunded. Don't have my credit card statement yet but this left a slight concern. Not a lots of money but the principle is clear.

Also whilst they very pleasant the receptionists were the least efficient and knowledgeable. We had come to expect really high standards of customer service from SA staff."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Average
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
The Plettenberg

The Plettenberg

"Plettenberg Hotel"

3 nights Arrived 27 Oct 2019
"The hotel is right on the top of the point in the middle of a residential area. This was the only place with heavy security and where we were advised not to walk out down the cliff path or at night. The hotel is very modern with a Californian surf side feel and beautiful decor.

Our room had wonderful views two ways across the bays.and was lovely but needed a few things updated and lay out changes. When we raised this with the manager, who came round every morning to talk to all the guests, he said it was earmarked for upgrading and we discussed some options very positively. The staff were generally very good, the food very nice and the receptionist helpful in contacting the Marine at Hemanus about the rogue charge.

However, on my birthday pink bubbly was brought to my room and the implication was that it was from the hotel. I even thanked the manager for it. However it transpires my sister organised and paid for it. Not sure if this was a genuine communication failure or blatant attempt by the staff involved ( not the manager) to take the glory. etc. The travel adviser was very helpful as we had one clear day and identified 2 trips that suited us well She made taxi arrangements and bookings. One was the Bird Sanctuary which we loved, Birds fly free under a large net dome. Not all are local so purists would complain. the other was a trip down the tidal river Kuerbooms which was great fun even on a cold day with the skipper's dry sense of humour. We managed to have breakfast put on the patio 2 mornings but it was too cold at night to dine there.

It was a lovely hotel but we were put off by the feeling of insecurity - we saw large guard dogs being walked twice past our room."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Average
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Gorah Elephant Camp

Gorah Elephant Camp

"Gorah Elephant Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 30 Oct 2019
"This is a great venue for Elephants and antelopes, zebra and buffalo. Though we did see lions here too. Our tented room was amazing with everything we needed and very comfortable beds etc. We had some interesting game drives and our guide was so enthusiastic.

The main house has been renovated back to the Victorian era and is lit only by candles at nigh. The food at breakfast and most meals was really good. We never made afternoon and lunch in the same day as you have a late breakfast after returning from the 6 am morning drive at about 9.30 am! The atmosphere is relaxed and we never dressed for dinner being too tired to move.

Our only problem there was that one meal was almost cold. I cannot imagine how it happened but we were tired and we did not want to complain though we told the waiter and the duty manager the next morning. The ability to sit by the waterhole and watch all the animals at close quarters was wonderful I had to miss an early morning drive as I was unwell but did not feel I missed out at all.

I would recommend this venue to anyone."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge

Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge

"Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge review"

3 nights Arrived 1 Nov 2019
"I really can't describe how wonderful this reserve is. The Great Fish River lodge is spectacular designed as a low white washed thatched building hugging the hillside of the river valley. It is decorated as a modern safari lodge with comfortable modern furniture and African items displayed. t has a large veranda on the river side. The rooms are mini versions - with a nice hallway, big bedroom with easy chairs, veranda with an outside shower, plunge pools and loungers. The bathroom is modern and well equipped. Space to store your cases - but little full length hanging space but then we never changed for dinner the atmosphere is so relaxed. We had nyala drinking from our plunge pool and warthogs sheltering from the sun under our bush!

It is an open site so you have to be taken your room at night by security men with torches. They seemed more worried about our falling over the steps than any animal danger! The food was lovely and as at Gorah far too much. We rarely made it to lunch. The early starts were rewarded by marvellous animal sitings - not so easy to spot as in Gorah as a larger reserve and of course fewer elephants. We saw a lots of animals, birds and some reptiles. We were in the middle of a cheetah hunt with the mother cheetah swerving round the vehicle about 2-3 feet away!

Our guide Nico and Tracker Andy were brilliant, knowledgeable and determined to find a leopard for us, tracking through the bush. i think they were more frustrated than us that they never found one but we enjoyed the whole process and experience pf watching them track it to about a 400x400 yards area. The hospitality staff are very well trained and skilled and were fabulous at making everyone feel at home.

Worth every penny!!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

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