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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Royal Albatross from UK

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

8

Excursions taken

0

Highly Recommended

Namibia between 8 Jun 2008 and 21 Jun 2008

Trip rating: Excellent
"Wonderful. Namibia is a fantastic country - full of experiences, surprises and delights.

The ExpertAfrica service was helpful, efficient and reassuring. The attention to detail in the documentation is impressive - as is the information available in Chris's book - which we took with us. Everyone at the lodges spoke warmly about the ExpertAfrica team - the work you do in visiting the lodges clearly pays dividends.

I normally plan and book all holiday arrangements myself, direct with hotels, airlines, car hire etc. It is a testament to Gwynneth that I booked this trip with ExpertAfrica, because I normally like to retain control. Her approach was supportive and in no way pushy. I felt that in trusting her to make the arrangements, she was definitely adding value.

She also called on her colleagues for more specific information about lodges she had not stayed at personally. Talking to someone about places they know well, and experiences they have had personally is a great feature of the service - even if you discover that you don't always want/like the same things. The level of interest in the trip is also an indication that EA are truly interested in their clients' experiences.

The only thing I would say is that I think it would be good if there were more details provided within the lodges about activities and facilities (generally speaking they tell you things verbally, but don't always have anything for you to refer to). I also felt that the guides could do more to tell people in advance what they are going to do, how long things might take etc. Normally this doesn't matter - you're on holiday! But sometimes it could be important, and coming back 1-2 hours after you were told you'd be back woulnd't be ideal! Maybe they could wear watches....that might help!"

Olive Grove

Olive Grove

"Overnight at Olive Grove"

1 night Arrived 8 Jun 2008
"Olive Grove was easy to find and is out of the main Windhoek centre, so was quiet during our visit.

The staff were very welcoming and helpful - it was a lovely start to our vacation. The dinner was very good and there is a nice lounge area to relax in, as well are restful outdoor area.

We found our room a little spartan and stubbed our toes and knees on the concrete bed frames more than once during our overnight stay!"
Good
Location
Good
Service
Good
Facilities
Average
Rooms
Average
Food
Good
Wolwedans Dunes Lodge

Wolwedans Dunes Lodge

"Part of the Family at Wolwedans"

2 nights Arrived 9 Jun 2008
"We stayed 2 nights at Wolwedans - our first introduction to the real Safari experience. The views are spectacular, the staff are really welcoming and friendly and the food was good. We met some lovely fellow guests which made the group dining very pleasant. We felt very special and looked after by everyone, which was a splendid experience.

We did a full day and a half day drive on the Reserve with Hans - both were very informative and relaxing - with a surprising amount of wildlife to be seen - something we had not expected, and which they Guides are keen to point out are not guaranteed! Good picnic lunch on the full day drive.

It is worth noting that there is no ability to power electrical items in the rooms, nor any cellphone coverage - which might make it ideal for some people, but if you want to be contactable, it can be a bit worrying.

When we first arrived, it was not clear where the Lodge accommodation was (you arrive at 'base camp' where you leave your car) and cannot see the Lodge. It only emerged as we were transferred by Wolwedans vehicle where things were. A bit more up front explanation might help people get oriented."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Average
Sossus Dune Lodge

Sossus Dune Lodge

"Great views at Sossus Dune"

2 nights Arrived 11 Jun 2008
"Sossus Dune is part of NWR and does feel a bit more "National Park" rather than privately run establishment.

Upon arrival, our host talked to us about facilities and activities on offer. It would have been helpful to have had this in writing to refer to later - as at the end of a long drive, you don't always take everything in.

All the staff were friendly and helpful, but our exchanges with them felt a bit stiff and formal, as if they weren't really relaxed in the service they were providing. The notable exception was when the staff came into the restaurant on our first evening to sing a couple of songs. Then they seemed to have a great time!

The room was great, with lots of space and places to put things, plenty of power sockets and cellphone coverage. However, neither of the two doors to the room worked smoothly - both jammed on the wooden floor (although one was eased during our stay) and using the lock was a challenge and it usually took several attempts to get the front door unlocked.

We took a trip to watch the sunrise in Sossusvlei and to visit the Dunes. Clearly this trip included a trek up the Dunes, although that had not been made clear and wasn't actually what we wanted to do. This resulted in us waiting around for some time while the other group members climbed the Dunes with the Guide. Some more explanation, and discussion about what is involved and what people want to do / are able to do physically would be beneficial.

Upon returning to our car after 2 nights stay at the Lodge, we found our car had a flat tyre. The member of staff that was with us kindly helped us change the tyre before we set off to get it repaired at Sesriem."
Average
Location
Good
Service
Average
Activities
Average
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Facilities
Average
Hansa Hotel

Hansa Hotel

"Back to civilisation in Swakop"

1 night Arrived 13 Jun 2008
"The Hansa is well located in the middle of Swakop - giving great access to shops and other facilities. We were able to park within the hotel grounds and the porter very kindly cleaned up our very dusty suitcases before bringing them to our room.

The hotel feels rather tired and the style wasn't really to our taste - but it was perfectly fine and we had no complaints. Even with a big group in the dining room, service was quick and efficient. Nice to have free wifi access!"
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Average
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Average
Food
Average
Mowani Mountain Camp

Mowani Mountain Camp

"Great views and service in the Mountains"

2 nights Arrived 14 Jun 2008
"Mowani is in a great location, with fabulous views. The arrival procedures could be a bit more slick - we were fooled by the position of the car parking area, and having parked, then didn't know where to go! Clearly we were supposed to drive to the main area of the Camp and then return the car to the carpark below. This really wasn't obvious.

We had a great welcome and were then taken to our tent, along a lengthy and quite uneven pathway. Quite how the porters negotiate these paths with suitcases has to be seen and appreciated. Fortunately, torches are provided to find your way after dark.

The sunset viewing is a good idea - with nice drinks and snacks available. The lounge area is located by a water feature which attracts lots of birds - great viewing at close quarters!

We took a trip to find Desert Adapted Elephants which was fabulous. Watching the elephants' progress across the landscape to the waterhole and being able to follow and observe them was truly magical. Less magical was the ride in the back row of the vehicle - the Guides would do well to know that it gets really uncomfortable in the back row when you travel for long distances on the dry river beds. We left our seats (i.e. were thrown up in the air) probably 20 times! Be warned - sit close to the centre of the vehicle and you'll be much more comfortable!

After the trip, we discovered we were missing a camera and the staff searched the vehicle and found it for us. They were very concerned to ensure it still worked, as they had already washed the vehicle down and the camera was a bit wet. It was entirely our fault for leaving the camera in the vehicle and we were so grateful at the helpful and caring attitude of the staff and the General Manager."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Ongava Lodge

Ongava Lodge

"Only one night at Ongava"

1 night Arrived 16 Jun 2008
"We arrived at Ongava as it was going dark. The drive from the main road was irksome - there are speed bumps at very frequent intervals - something that seems unnecessary on a gravel road when you can't go very fast anyway if you want to keep your tyres! The car parking area looked more like a boulder field - it really should be improved - it was by far the worst area we drove on during our 2 weeks. The staff made light of our protests about the state of it, which didn't impress us.

The Lodge, however, was fantastic. Great viewing from the restaurant over the floodlit waterhole. The room was great - although a bit odd that the front door, which is between bedroom and bathroom has clear glass so you can be observed by anyone passing by! The mixture of indoor / outdoor places to sit and relax are lovely and we were sorry we only had one night at this location. It could do with a larger safe to store valuables."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Good
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Onguma Tented Camp

Onguma Tented Camp

"Onguma is a great base for exploring Etosha"

2 nights Arrived 17 Jun 2008
"Really enjoyed our time at Onguma - its proximity and accessibility to Etosha is great - although the location of the entrance from the main road could do with some signage! The facilities are splendid - including the open fires in the lounge and dining room to keep you warm during the evening - in addition to blankets - very important when you're dining essentially al fresco in the winter!

Onguma has the best bath towels I have ever used at any hotel. Not only are they huge, they were pure white and fluffy. Marvellous! The duvets and hot water bottles also kept us warm during the night - important at this time of year!

We took a guided game drive into the park, and although we felt we saw plenty of wildlife, our guide was disappointed not to have seen more. The predominance of water at all the waterholes was enabling some of the game to be more elusive, seemingly. It was a well guided drive, however, with a knowledgeable and engaging guide."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Okonjima Bush Camp

Okonjima Bush Camp

"Had the best time at Okonjima"

2 nights Arrived 19 Jun 2008
"The end of our trip and definitely the highlight. Fantastically helpful and friendly staff, really good room with plenty of facilities (hurrah - a hairdryer!), good food and brilliant organised activities.

Our guide (Albert) was experienced, knowledgeable, engaging and funny. He also was careful to let us know what was happening and to check that what we were going to do was ok with us. As this involved climbing up and down a hill during the on foot cheetah tracking, that was pretty important. As an Africat 'ambassador' we were delighted that he was more interested in locating animals than giving us 'sundowner' drinks!

The opportunity to see the big cats at close quarters was magical - lions, leopards and cheetash - all fantastic. The radio tracking allows you not just to see the cats, but to see the work of Africat in action, as each tracking is done to obtain important information about the cats' progress. I've read other reviews that frown on the tracking devices, but I believe they do this in pursuit of the cat's wellbeing, and only a small number of animals in the rehabilitation area appear to be tagged.

I was surprised not to find more overt advertising / literature available to promote Africat - perhaps this is deliberate. There was nothing beyond the small leaflet in our room and I was initially told they had run out of the usual material. I thought the back of the pool area was a curious place to put the detailed info that I really wanted to see - particularly as in winter the pool isn't the most obvious resting place!

I asked about information and was provided with a pack of info and some cds. I expected the curio shop to be full of books and Africat branded merchandise, and although there were some T shirts I was surprised not to find more. Nor were we encouraged to sponsor or otherwise support the cause - other than a donations box in the reception area. Again I wouldn't want anything to be hard sell, but we are keen cat lovers and so are our friends, so this was definitely an opportunity missed.

It might also be worth warning people about the terrain near the hide where you go to view the nocturnal animals - which was a little tricky to negotiate in the dark after a couple of glasses of wine. Still, seeing the crazy porcupines was worth it!

Fantastic to be a part of Africat's world for a short time."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Good
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Good

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