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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Ms B and Mr C from Montana

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

2

Countries visited

2

Lodges stayed in

9

Excursions taken

0

My Jul 2021 trip to Botswana

Botswana between 21 Jul 2021 and 7 Aug 2021

Trip rating: Excellent
"Maruska planned such a superb safari for us to Zambia in June that we came home and immediately booked with her to return to Africa in July, this time to Botswana. Planning travel during a pandemic is not for the faint of heart. Maruska maneuvered through the requirements and flight changes expertly. She graciously answered my many questions and concerns. And both safaris went as smoothly as can be.

We have recommended Expert Africa to anyone who will listen already!

The benefits of traveling during these risky times is the lack of crowding everywhere. Covid precautions were taken seriously in Africa. We felt safer there, at least in the safari camps, than here in US. The testing requirements went smoothly for our return flight, in fact the nurse was helicoptered in to the camp to obtain our swabs.

Botswana was enjoyable and we were happy that the Delta still had some water from the local spring rains as the Angola floods were scant this year. The scenery was nice but was not quite the palm studded beauty which I had remembered from the past. The wide spread practice of burning during the winter creates a brown haze over much of southern Africa.

We felt it was worth the risk to travel during these turbulent times with the help of Expert Africa and especially Maruska. We also knew we were supported by Chris and his team as well. very grateful for the guidance.

Thank you or Ke a leboga Mma/Rra as the warm,hospitable,welcoming people of Botswana say..."

Arranged By Maruska Adye-Rowe


Kanana

Kanana

"Pel's Fishing Owl!"

2 nights Arrived 24 Jul 2021
"We began our safari with 2 nights at Kanana. Traveling during covid there were only a couple other tents occupied which gave the camp a very peaceful feeling.

The tents were just beautiful with a lovely veranda overlooking the active lagoon. Masses of birdlife around camp. Our guide was top notch, Robbie, and he found us our first ever Pel's, after 10 safari trips! Also a Marsh owl. Got great photos as it was morning. We chose this camp for the heronry and were not disappointed. So many species! Spoonbill, grey heron, marabous , open billed, yellow billed, darter, pink backed pelican, even a pygmy goose with babies. Seeing the huge marabou nesting was particularly striking..

Mokoro ride with a very cheerful and informative poler Bonno was enjoyable. We were able to share the water with a couple of elephants making it a quintessential Okavango experience. The food was very good with an emphasis on a more African cuisine which we appreciated. Oh, and lots of lions around camp as they had given birth there while the camp was closed last year!

The only disappointment was flying in through smokey skies as we had traveled to the other side of the planet to get away from the fires in Montana and the US west."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Botswana Private Mobile Safari

Botswana Private Mobile Safari

"Botswana Private Mobile Safari "

5 nights Arrived 26 Jul 2021
"We have probably never been so well looked after in our lives.

Kennie our hostess was so warm and welcoming. KB looked after our tent which was very comfortable indeed and outfitted with plenty of warm blankets to keep us toasty in the cold winter nights. LB and Julian kept us supplied with warm water for our showers, washed the vehicle daily, and kept the infrastructure of moving and setting up camp perfectly. And Alec the chef prepared absolutely gourmet meals with only an open fire. Out of a metal box came perfect bread twice a day, and perfectly cooked chicken pot pie decorated with little pastry flowers, Bobotie, Indian curry....even the most amazing poached pear dessert .... Each meal was thoughtfully prepared and presented and an absolute treat. Better than most restaurants we have been to.

And finally Andrew was a superb host and guide. For 5 nights we explored Moremi and Khwai areas. We not only spotted lots of game but were able to sit and watch their behavior. He was brilliant at finding us the wild dogs several times. Also a great variety of bird-life. four male elephants fighting with each other in the river.. and a memorable after dinner night drive where we saw 2 bat eared fox, 2 porcupines and a serval. Andrew's enthusiasm and knowledge of the bush made this a very special experience.

Staying in such a comfortable camp in the Botswana wilderness felt more luxurious than the most high end lodges to us."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Duba Explorers Camp

Duba Explorers Camp

"Duba Explorers Camp review"

4 nights Arrived 31 Jul 2021
"We were warmly welcomed by the camp hosts Marine and Ryan. a gorgeous setting overlooking a lagoon area.

Our first night was in tent 1, absolutely perfect view over the water but marred by a terrible smell from the toilet. Moved to tent 2 which had as grand a view and as comfortable and elegant as could be.

The bird-life and game around the river made time spent in camp enjoyable. The game out on the game drives was a bit scarce. Oddly in 4 days we never saw a buffalo or a lion which of course Duba is famous for. The roads felt quite rough, not sure if it was the washboarding or the condition of our vehicle. Instead of drives we chose a couple of mokoro rides which were lovely.

There were highlights however. We spent many hours on night drives and saw great sightings of wild cat, a leopard, genet, Giant Eagle Owl, and just totally thrilled by the brilliant stars in the dark skies.. and an elephant came by and gave us a wake=up call one morning.

The lunches were good, a variety of salads and other interesting dishes. The French style dinners were a bit fussy for us, though the chef did the best sticky toffee pudding ever."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent

Zambia June 2021

Zambia between 4 Jun 2021 and 24 Jun 2021

Trip rating: Excellent
"More than 2 years ago someone in an African lodge recommended that we use a woman named Maruska from Expert Africa to help plan our first trip to Zambia. 2020 turned into 2021 and the changes and details which made this trip happen could not have been handled better. Patience and with professionalism and humour, Maruska pursued option after option to make this safari happen. We are so grateful.

And it was worth all the planning. Zambia was wonderful. The birds, the trees, the leopards, the huge number of hippo and crocodiles, the lodges, the people, the food! The Shoebills!! We have been on multiple safaris so the special Zebras, Wildebeest and Giraffe species were fascinating to us. Being almost the only guests in the lodges and parks was priceless. We enjoyed it so much we did not want to leave.

Oh, that is right, we almost did not get to leave. When Emirates suddenly cancelled our return flight from Lusaka in the middle of our trip that is when Expert Africa shone even brighter. Their great relationship with the lodge operators became apparent and with everyone's combined support we figured out an alternative routing, and testing, etc. and we made it home to Montana.

It was such a rewarding experience traveling in these challenging times and we felt so safe in the lodges that we are already planning another safari with Maruska's help for next month

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service: Was not clear of how to fill in the wildlife portion of this feedback. Was it number of elephants or sightings of groups of elephants? There you go, some feedback on the feedback. sign of the times!"

Arranged By Maruska Adye-Rowe


Latitude 15

Latitude 15

"Latitude 15 review"

1 night Arrived 6 Jun 2021
"We loved the quirky artwork all around the hotel. Even the bathrobes in our rooms were lovely.
Our first room had an awful smell when we turned on the aircon unit. But we were cheerfully moved to another, I believe room 27, which was very nice. Our supper was the only bad meal we had on our safari but the breakfast was delicious. Our transfers were done by an excellent company, Tours Africa. I think they are the glue which holds tourism in Zambia together!"
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Average
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Facilities
Good
Flatdogs Camp

Flatdogs Camp

"Flatdogs Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 7 Jun 2021
"We stayed at the Croc's Nest. It was superb. We got there in time to swim around in the private pool watching the sunset over the river. the sounds of the bush made sleeping even harder than the jetlag! the hippos! the lions! We loved it! It was such a welcoming camp. And the food was so good that we did not think it could get any better with a choice of menu that would satisfy just anyone. Oh my gosh, the panna cotta dessert we had both nights......
Our guide Joffrey was excellent. We saw so much on the one day of safari, both mammals and birds, as well as our interesting drive to transfer us through the park to our onward camp in the north, Kaingo... Traveling at the moment in the time of Covid we only encountered one other vehicle (the couple we flew in with), even in this busier part of the park. Priceless.... The camp staff and management, Kennedy, Aiden, Jesse could not have been more welcoming . Highly recommended, especially the Croc's Nest..... and just about when we were about to leave we got to see the Wild Dogs right in the camp off the deck of the very cool Jackleberry Treehouse...."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kaingo Camp

Kaingo Camp

"Kaingo Camp review"

4 nights Arrived 9 Jun 2021
"Not only were we greeted by the welcoming staff, we had an elephant come and sniff us as we relaxed on our lovely private deck overlooking the river! The room had a solid comfortable feel, very comfortable and inviting. there is a private deck with a bathtub where the cheeky monkeys came and stole a necklace of glass beads (part of an artwork display) to try and decorate themselves with, lots of fun. We enjoyed that the wildlife which wandered in to camp was accepted with a sense of inclusion, not to be feared. It made this beautiful remote camp feel at home in the remote bush of South Luangwa. Our guide was Sly (Sylvester) and he was so personable and just excellent. Here we saw the handsome wildebeest species which is endemic here, what a good looking animal..We spotted so many birds! We especially enjoyed 2 evening/night drives with a Mama Leopard whose tiny babies were stashed in a tree.. We never saw them but hearing them mew when mom climbed in was so satisfying. We appreciated that Sly was able to follow the leopard over some distance back to the tree on the second evening sighting to see if the cubs would appear. It is a highlight to patiently watch one animal's behavior. Sly's experience with photography was apprciated greatly..
We enjoyed meeting Derek the camp's founder and being able to chat with folks on the wonderful waterside main deck. Livvie the new camp manager, Gerard looked after us well. Very supportive when our return flight on Emirates was cancelled and we had to make arrangements to return home.
Food was prepared with enthusiasm by Catherine and some delicious meals were enjoyed. especially loved our surprise bush brunch by the river!
We did not get to stay at Mwamba but we did get a tour of the camp and it looked like it would be excellent during lower water levels when animals would gather just outside the rooms."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Tafika

Tafika

"Just Loved Tafika"

3 nights Arrived 13 Jun 2021
"It took our breath away to walk onto the Tafika property, like an elegant green carpeted lawn set by the south Luanga River with it's crowds of hippos and crocodiles. Including one resident croc which was enormous. We liked being on the end room near the river. Just in back of us was a hide which would be well enjoyed later in the year when the water levels are low and the animals gathered there. The room was obviously built with such care and attention to detail. Very, very comfortable and yet obviously in the bush.


We enjoyed the warm hospitality of Carol and John and Nick and Jen. The entire staff was extremely welcoming. Being avid gardener's ourselves we appreciated the food coming from the extensive organic garden on the property. Who knew that you could grow such an abundance with elephants around? And being admittedly "foodies" we savored every dish prepared by the talented chef. Vegetarian and nonvegetarian choice at every meal was especially nice. Never imagined fresh salad being served in the remote bush of Zambia. Dinners were taken at at a beautifully set table under the moon with a charcoal under table heater! Talk about cozy...


Our guide Macupa was eagle eyed with lots of detailed information and stories about whatever we came across. Even on the night safaris I don't think he missed a single set of eyes. We got to see a leopard make an impala kill only to lose it immediately to the voracious hyena. The heronry was so interesting that we visited it on 2 morning drives. There is a great variety of terrain in the area including the salt pans complete with Hot Springs. Beautiful trees too
We would highly recommend Remote Safaris. It would be fabulous to come back and stay at their walking camps and in North Luanga as well. Just as the previous camp Kaingo, it was a privilege to stay at an owner run lodge."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Shoebill Island Camp

Shoebill Island Camp

"Shoebills are Real!!"

2 nights Arrived 16 Jun 2021
"High water levels meant that our plane could not land at the nearby airstrip so part of the adventure was a 2.5 hours rough land transfer followed by a lovely 45 minute boat ride. It was interesting to see the villages along the way with loads of children and folks waving hello. Inside the Bangweulu Wetland area was the remarkable site of a huge expanse of flat grassland with thousands of Black Lechwe grazing. Even more amazing was hearing and seeing these handsome animals migrate into the waterways at dark and return to the plains at dawn.

The bird-life was astonishing. Many new species for us including the blue cheeked bee-eater . And of course the Shoebill. We actually saw 8 of them! The high water levels meant that we could boat out into the swamp to look for them, very comfortable for us but a lot of hard work for the strong men who poled the boat. Magical to glide amongst the tall grass and reed islands just filled with interesting birds and ducks. We only had one full day there but it was one of our best ever safari days, one of the most interesting of our lives really. Our guide was Brighton who was just brilliant as he showed us around "his office"

Remote Safaris have just started managing this camp and we were lucky to be accompanied by Nick on our trip. The tents are comfortable, in fact this was the most comfortable bed of our safari. Hot running water and excellent food.Watching the bats fly around in the evening and the lechwe splashing in the water made for a special sundowner. Little touches like the fragrantly scented bath products made this stay feel like real luxury in such a remote place.

The only thing lacking here was an attention to Covid protocol

We felt truly grateful to have visited Shoebill Island Camp."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Puku Ridge

Puku Ridge

"Luxurious Puku Ridge"

4 nights Arrived 18 Jun 2021
"Floating in a cool plunge pool and watching Zebra,elephant,baboon,impala,kudu and puku grazing around the waterhole is like heaven on earth. This lodge is as luxurious as it comes with a tasteful,comfortable style that is not "over the top" Rooms are super spacious with lots of both indoor and outdoor seating, every amenity imaginable, comfy bed, all overlooking an expansive plain. Annemie and Grant were so welcoming and great attention was paid to Covid protocol. The staff took such good care of us. Our guide Abel took us on drives as well as some very nice walks. We spent some quality time with elephants and the beautiful Zambia specials, the Thornicroft Giraffe and the Crawshay's Zebra which continued to dazzle us throughout our 2 weeks in the South Luangwa. The bird-life continued to be excellent.

Some of our most exciting sightings were right in camp. We were just heading of for siesta when we heard, Lions in camp!, jumped into the vehicle and off to meet 2 male lions just behind the rooms. The last night there we excitedly followed a large pack of wild dogs through the property. Finishing the evening with a last gennet sighting, like the whipped cream on the sundae.

Speaking of whipped cream, a special mention for the food here. Wow. we enjoyed both the irresistible veggie and non veggie option at each meal. Except the last candle lit supper on our deck where we both had to have the beef fillet. As in all the camps the Zambia beef is outstanding.The food here was fresh, creative,gourmet, but not in a heavy way. (Not that we did not return home a little heavier ourselves)"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

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