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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Ms S. from Bainbridge Isla

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

3

Lodges stayed in

8

Excursions taken

2

Oct/Nov 2019 trip

Kenya and 2 other countries between 21 Oct 2019 and 10 Nov 2019

Trip rating: Good
"We had a wonderful trip with many momentous adventures but quite a lot more tedious jeep rides than we had bargained for, especially in the Kenya portion where the distances between camps was several hours on washed out roads only to find out when we arrived that the next activity would be a jeep ride! This was disappointing as I had been quite clear that that what I was exactly what I was trying to avoid.

The biggest issue was that Olivia had not made clear to me the consequences of the rainy season. I thought it just meant that it would rain a bit during the day and we would get wet, something I don't care about. What it really meant is that the bush would be so green and thick that animals would be extremely hard to see, that water would be so readily available everywhere that animals would be widely dispersed across hundreds of thousands of acres, and therefore hard to find, that the bugs would be fierce. and that the normally rough, bumpy roads would be so deeply rutted and washed out hat driving was bone crushing. And, as I noted in my comments about Sarara, some activities such as the Singing Wells, were not possible. No one can control the weather but if I had known what the rainy season was really like I don't think I would have taken the chance of traveling in the shoulder season. Since we were the only guests at a number of places, i felt everybody else had gotten the memo except us!

Also, some of the logistics could have been worked out better. Though the three Samburu camps look equidistant on a map, in fact it made no sense to go to Saruni Rhino last instead of Sarani Samburu, which is quite close to the airstrip.By going there last, it added another 2 and a half hour jeep trip on washed out roads to get back to the airstrip we had just come from two days earlier.

Finally, we were never told that the trip from Saruni Rhino to Plantation Lodge would be over 10 hours. We were shocked to discover on arrival at Kilamijaro that our jeep ride was over 4 hours. I can't believe there was not a scheduled or even charter flight from Kili to Manyara. In any event, no one told us about the length of the trip and we had no food from 8 AM till 6:30 PM expect for the driver's small pack of Pringles. I expected better attention to logistics.

With the exception of Stone Town, all the places we stayed were great. I just wish we had done the trip a different year when we could have done it at the right time."

Feedback response

Most unfortunately, East Africa experienced unprecedented rainfall during October 2019, when these travellers were in Kenya and Tanzania. According to many guides, it was more akin to the heavy rains in April-May, a time we would not have suggested to these travellers due to the negative impact on activities. We were really sorry to hear that these travellers had such bad luck with the weather, at a time that has been frequently suggested by all of our team for safaris in Kenya and Tanzania over the years.

Journeying to off the beaten track places, where unusual experiences can be found, requires a fair amount of travel due to the remote locations involved. Lengthy connections built up due to the wish to combine a number of very interesting, varied experiences that were spread far apart. We always make every effort to make journeys as efficient and smooth-running as possible, although the weather likely impacted this at times in this trip. We are discussing changing our documentation to provide more detail on journey time, to make it more clear to our travellers.


Sarara

Sarara

"Sarara review"

3 nights Arrived 21 Oct 2019
"Sarara was a wonderful camp. The setting was gorgeous and the whole camp felt luxurious without being pretentious.we especially appreciated the close relationship between the Samburu team and the local community. We felt we get to see a bit of Samburu culture without the experience being contrived for tourists.

On the down side, this is not a a place I would go outside the dry season. Because the rains had come, some activities we had really looked forward to like the Singing Wells and sleeping in a star tent were not available. We had actually booked Sarara Treehouse but because of the rains the road getting there was so bad supplies couldn't be delivered so they shut it down. Wildlife had fanned put across the great expanse rather than gathering at watering holes so we saw very little. Worse, the bugs were intense-so intense that most guests ate in their tent instead of at in the lovely open air dining area. Beetles were literally flying into our faces, her and water. At night you couldn't read because the light from a kindle would attract them. There were no mosquito nets!

But even with all that, we could see Sarara is an extraordinary place and only wish we could have been there at the right time of year."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Saruni Samburu

Saruni Samburu

"Stunning property"

2 nights Arrived 24 Oct 2019
"We spent two wonderful nights here. Our villa (#5) had the most spectacular view I have ever seen. The whole property from the rooms to the pools to the campfire were striking. Because it is in its own conservancy, you really felt like you were in the middle of nowhere.

Again, the season was the downside--no animals at the watering hole and therefore no use for the photographic hide, something my husband had really been looking forward to. Lots of animals in the game drive in the reserve though."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Saruni Rhino

Saruni Rhino

"Spectacular location and service!"

2 nights Arrived 26 Oct 2019
"A wonderful place with only three huts along a dry riverbed and a lovely pool. The staff went out of their way to make us feel at home. The camp manager, Sammy, was particularly kind and thoughtful.

The rhino trekking was good but it was not, as advertised, by telemetry. The batteries on the collars have all died! Instead rangers in the park try to figure out where the rhinos are each day and let the guide and tracker know.

We did see a rhino the first morning and the second afternoon Again, very hard to track in the thick green bush. This would be a much better experience in the dry season."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Plantation Lodge

Plantation Lodge

"Gorgeous!"

1 night Arrived 28 Oct 2019
"A beautiful property and nice break from safari camps. Rooms were beautiful and the gardens were lovely.

Unfortunately we did not arrive until almost dinner time and left after breakfast so we didn't get a chance to enjoy it much."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
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Asilia Adventures - Ngorongoro Highlands to Lake Natron trek

"Asilia Adventures - Ngorongoro Highlands to Lake Natron trek review"

4 nights Arrived 29 Oct 2019
"We loved the trek despite getting caught in a serious downpour the first day. This is not a "walking safari" and not about animals. Rather it is about gorgeous scenery, being off the beaten path and getting an up close view of Masai life.

The staff was terrific, especially the camp manage and the cook. I have no idea how the cook did it but he produced gourmet meals out in the bush. Don't expect the romantic look of the camp you see in the pictures though. It used REI tents and moved the camps via truck not donkey, although a donkey did take our luggage down the last day."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Alex Walker's Serian Serengeti

Alex Walker's Serian Serengeti

"Classic Safari experience"

4 nights Arrived 2 Nov 2019
"This camp had a great ambience. You could imagine you were on an old time safari, just with power. The guide and tracker were outstanding and having both made a real difference in terms of what we could see. The food was the best of any of the places we stayed.

Because it as the very end of the season, we were the only ones there, which was a little awkward but the camp managers handled it gracefully. The only negative is that it was extremely hot during the day and the tents had no fan. Consequently, it was uncomfortable and hard to relax between the morning and afternoon game drives. Hopefully, that will be rectified."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Zanzibar Coffee House

Zanzibar Coffee House

"Disappointing"

1 night Arrived 6 Nov 2019
"This was the only place we stayed that we did not like. We had thought it would be charming and atmospheric. Instead it felt run down and uncomfortable.

The bed was like a rock and the hot water had to be turned on 15 minutes prior to showering.It was not at all what we were looking for after a safari. I felt like it was a hotel for much younger people who were trying to watch their pennies.

If it had been for more than one night we would have left."
Average
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Rooms
Average
Stone Town Discovery Tour

Stone Town Discovery Tour

"Nice guide;OK tour"

6 Nov 2019 • Afternoon excursion

Stone Town has a fascinating history but the historical building/museumes have not yet been developed enough to make them worth going to.

The guide walked us around and told us stories but really you could have just read it. There just wasn't much to see. That said, it is always interesting to walk around an African town and market if you have never done it before. We have so I would have skipped this.
Good
Kilindi

Kilindi

"Paradise!"

3 nights Arrived 7 Nov 2019
"What a wonderful way to end our trip.

Our villa was stunning with a gorgeous room, outdoor luxurious bathroom, patio and private plunge pool. Each villa is assigned a their own guest ambassador which feels very personal.

The property itself is an oasis in what is otherwise a stretch of Zanzibar that has been overdeveloped for mass tourism. But with 15 villas on 50 acres you would never know it if you don't leave the property. The beach is great with lots of shaded seating a kayaks and paddle boards. Pool is also lovely. Service throughout is top notch.

A lifetime treat!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Princess Salme Spice Tour

Princess Salme Spice Tour

"Don't bother"

7 Nov 2019 • Morning excursion

This tour isn't worth the time or the discomfort of the high heat and humidity. The Princess Salme portion is conducted entirely in front of a ruined palace. Her story is interesting but nothing is gained by hearing it there. Perhaps some day the palace will be restored.

The spice tour would be OK if you have never done anything like that. If you have, it is pretty standard stuff.
Excellent

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