Travel reviews by Nick & Kate from London
Total number of trips
Lodges stayed in
Spectacular river crossings and great game
Tanzania between 10 Aug 2022 and 23 Aug 2022
The lodges were of very high standards, and the trip was comfortable, well-run and hugely enjoyable.
A special word must be reserved for the friendliness of the Tanzanian people - gentle, helpful, kind, considerate and well-mannered, extremely eager to do their best for you. It’s wonderful for veteran travellers like us to see how far the country has developed in so many ways since we were last here, and in particular to see how the Tanzanians themselves now occupy all the senior positions in camp management, guiding, and flying, doing so with their customary charm, efficiency and commitment to customer service."
Arranged By Lyndsey Marris
Rivertrees Country Inn
"Pleasant place to start"
" Very nice, BUT, with a major caveat"
Safari in Ngorongoro Crater
"Garden of Eden Safari"
13 Aug 2022 • All-day excursion
"Best place for migration and river crossings"
"Stunning lodge, less prolific game"
Another memorable safari
Namibia and 1 other country between 24 Sep 2017 and 8 Oct 2017
Out of the whole trip, there was just one unsatisfactory lodge, which was Little Kwara in Botswana. We travelled in late September-early October, which is a very, very hot time of year, and on some of the afternoon drives the animals were still sheltering from the 38 degree afternoon heat.
Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:
One idea would be to give in your advice, and in your camp descriptions, details of where and when you might see some of the rarer animals.
So, for example, we wanted to see eland, sable and roan, but this was not possible at any of our camps, but we had not thought to ask about it specifically before we went."
"Beautiful hotel, slow service"
"Stunning waterhole, terrible food"
Onguma Tented Camp
"Superb luxury camp"
Sandibe Safari Lodge
"The most awesome safari experience"
"Overrated - has seen better days"
"Stunning camp in great location"
Scenery as much as wildlife in Namibia
Namibia between 17 Sep 2014 and 3 Oct 2014
Having said that, there is plenty of fun to be had, the accommodations are delightful, the light aircraft trips are spectacular, the scenery is indeed amazing - and, of course, there are the unforgettable black rhino. We did not self-drive, and met many people who were finding that experience fairly challenging (but others we met were loving it). All in all, we enjoyed the visit, but probably would have wanted to speed it up here and there, and maybe cut down some of the 2 night stays where one had done everything within 24 hours.
Not sure either about Etosha - some marvellous moments, but not up there for us with the truly great African game parks.
Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:
1. People can do Erongo fully in one night if they have a late afternoon flight home from Windhoek.
2. On private safaris, issue guests with a voucher making it very clear what is included and what is not (eg local beverages)
3. Seriously consider whether Kulala Desert Lodge is suitable
4. Wolwedans and Sossuvlei did not merit 4 nights - could this be done in for speedy types like us?
5. Clarify that Erongo and Damaraland scenery are actually really quite similar - we had expected Erongo to be a sort of green and pleasant land!"
"Pleasant option in Windhoek"
Wolwedans Dune Camp
"Spectacular location - shame about mosquitoes"
Kulala Desert Lodge
"Sprawling camp which lacks character"
The water hole is on the opposite side of the river and sometimes it is difficult to see the wildlife there, especially at night. The camp doesn’t publicise this so as not to raise unreasonable expectations; wildlife is scarce in this desert area – despite these travellers having some lucky sightings here. A floodlight does give some illumination, but there is concern over moving this closer lest it disturbs the wildlife.
The dunes at Sossusvlei are the major draw card in this area, but can sometimes get busy. The guides here try hard to avoid the busiest parts … but that can be challenging.
We were very sorry to read about dissatisfaction with the guiding; this is a relatively unusual comment here. The guide in question is meeting with the Guide Trainer and the Regional MD to discuss how to make improvements to his guiding – and the provision of food and drink on activities.
Sleeping on the roof can be a great experience, but this is weather-dependent. These travellers visited when nights were cold – then whilst some brave the roof with a hot water bottle, but most will choose to sleep inside. By contrast, when it’s hot several of our team members have loved sleeping on the roof – the stars are magical here!
Desert Rhino Camp
"Desert Rhino Camp review"
There were issues with the timing of their onward flight which Expert Africa rectified (at our cost) for these travellers. Flight time changes led to a misunderstanding about their departure time, and the option of rhino-tracking on their final morning was offered but as something of an afterthought. This led to these travellers missing that activity, for which we gave them a refund.
Mowani Mountain Camp
"Lovely camp and great elephants"
"Underrated, lovely resort with waterhole"
Onguma Tented Camp
"Onguma Tented Camp review"
Erongo Wilderness Lodge
"Erongo Wilderness Lodge review"
The ultimate game experience
Botswana between 22 Oct 2009 and 2 Nov 2009
2. The lodges are run very well, and are also high quality - albeit, they lack any individuality or idiosyncrasies. The Wilderness experience is, therefore, very reliable, but a bit corporate. Nevertheless, it does what it says on the tin, and does it very well.
3. The company needs to be more thoughtful about how it manages interaction between staff and guests. The staff are a constant presence - breakfast, coffee breaks, brunch, tea, pre-dinner drinks, dinner - and, while always lovely people, are not necessarily the most gifted conversationalists (true of quite a few guests, mind you). It can be quite oppressive having to 'manage' the conversation, and it can interfere with one's ability to socialise easily with other guests. One can in theory choose to ignore the staff, but this is hardly British. I understand that safaris are meant to be communal, and that the company doesn't want an atmosphere of servile staff and snooty guests (not at the classic camps, anyway) - but the balance is absolutely not right at the moment.
4. Standards of guiding, while competent and friendly, falll a long way short of the standards we have experienced in Tanzania and Zambia from guides trained in Zimbabwe. The knowledge of the guides is often superficial, and they can get quite flustered by questions which take them out of their comfort zone. Standards of tracking seemed low. There is a need for significant investment in training if the standards are to reach the levels whereby a guide can transform your experience of a game drive.
5. There should be more active management of a variety of options for activities - too often, it was assumed that a day drive was all that was ever wanted.
6. Except at Chitabe, the main meals were very uninspiring as a rule.
7. On the other hand, I have never had such a mosquito free trip! Well done to the camps for making the nights a really relaxing time for sleeping."
"Stunning game in a great setting"
"Beautiful camp in a watery setting"
Zambia excellent for safari veterans
Zambia between 28 Sep 2007 and 9 Oct 2007
Wilderness somewhat corporate experience.
Pleased that most people were veterans - no honeymooners.
Very very hot - quite a lot of tsetse."
"enjoybale safari, good camp, some issues"
There’s perhaps a wider lesson here: when we travel we often carry with us items that are costly beyond the reach of many of the people who live in the developing world.
If these are left lying around, even in your rooms, then they can prove very tempting indeed. If possible, when travelling in Africa it’s best to leave non-essential valuables behind in the UK – or keep them on your person.
Lunga River Lodge, Zambia (this camp has since closed)
"Beautiful park and river, sweltering lodge"
Lodge not featured by Expert Africa
"superb safari and a first-rate camp"
Taj Pamodzi Hotel