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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Lee & Michele from PHX AZ

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

3

Excursions taken

0

My Aug 2021 trip

Zambia between 7 Aug 2021 and 20 Aug 2021

Trip rating: Excellent
"This was an awesome trip. It took a lot to make this happen and without Expert Africa's involvement
coordinating with camps and lending advice and expertise as we booked flights, layovers and reacted to an ever changing international situation we would not have been able to do it."

Arranged By Lucy Copson


Puku Ridge

Puku Ridge

"Puku Ridge review"

3 nights Arrived 7 Aug 2021
"Covid: All staff vaccinated; temperatures monitored daily; a formal written protocol is in place relative to social distancing; sanitation etc and provided as part of checking in.

Puku Ridge is stunning. The tents, sitting on a hillside with a panoramic view of the plain, are new, spacious and attractive. A waterhole in front of the Lodge attracts many animals and birds in addition to those that feed and travel by on the plain.

Each tent has all of the amenities of a modern hotel room plus the sky bed for stargazing.

Grant, Annemie and the Puku Staff are awesome – talented, sincere people who by word and deed demonstrate that they truly care about their guests, employees and nature. The camaraderie and positive attitudes displayed by the group is inspiring.

Grant has 25 years of international experience as an executive chef. He has trained his kitchen staff and his influence is evident in the quality of food served at Puku – the best that we had anywhere during our entire trip.

Our guide Pius and spotter John (guide in training) were top notch. Pius has years of experience – some at Nsefu – and combines that with his knowledge and gift of storytelling to provide both an entertaining and educational presentation. He has an uncanny sense of his client’s interests as well as an ability to recognize great photo opportunities and put a photographer in the right place with the right lighting to get great photos.

By the time we reached camp on the first day, we had seen elephants, giraffe, impala, buffalo, fish eagle, monitor lizard, baboons and ground hornbill. While there we saw one Cookson’s wildebeest and several Crawshay’s zebra and Thorncroft giraffes. More species were observed here then at either Nsefu or Sausage Tree. A comprehensive mammal and bird list was available in our room."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Nsefu

Nsefu

"Nsefu review"

5 nights Arrived 10 Aug 2021
"Our visit to Zambia Nsefu brought back memories of our accommodations on our first trip to Africa in 2009. Nsefu’s charm is its history, isolated location, experienced staff; habitat diversity and an abundance of wildlife.

Covid: Some staff vaccinated; widespread use of sanitizer

Willie the camp manager and our guide at first impression does not present himself as a typical guide but after spending time with him you realize you are not only in the presence of an experienced and knowledgeable guide but also a person who has been active working with environmental matters in Zambia. Whether stuck in a low crossing; knowing where the next lion will cross, apologizing for not yet eliminating the diesel generator at camp or talking about his work to combat global warming you soon realize that the Willie is a talented guide and renaissance man who had trained our guide at Puku Ridge and is known to others on the Lower Zambezi.

While riding with Willie you have the feeling he showing you his neighborhood; checking to see which animals are home and worrying about their welfare if they aren’t.

Elton our spotter was amazing – a man with the eyes of an eagle. Spotting a chameleon in a bush 30 feet away while driving by on a night drive will not be forgotten. We visited a variety of habitats and saw a great variety of species.

Our game drives were shared on a couple days with a German couple - and the rest of the time just us as we were the only ones in Camp.

The road network needs some maintenance. The “main” road from Mfuwe is missing culverts, in other places collapsed crossings cause detours into the bush and in places travel on the right of way is impossible. I don’t believe it’s the Camp’s fault – as I understand it NP is supposed to do the maintenance. The Camp has tried to improve some of the roughest spots. The Camp grounds are well maintained and the staff work hard to keep everything clean and in order despite the elephants and vervet monkeys – you tend not to notice these things as you are often distracted taking in the panoramic river scene or focused on one or more of the several species of wildlife that draw no distinction between camp boundaries and their territories.

The camps are open air and small creatures like tree frogs and monkeys could join you inside the camp. You definitely are living among the “natives” at Nsefu.

Some nights we had electricity – others not. It is unclear as to whether this is a generation problem or cost saving measure. Power outlets are limited - getting power for accessories requires unplugging a lamp(s) to charge batteries. The camp is equipped with a “breeze” cooling unit that we did not need nor try to operate.
The camps are “compact” – the bed occupies most of the floor space in the rondaval. Leisure time sitting is best suited to the front porch or lawn chairs. The open-air bathroom is spacious but contains little storage space.

It was an outdoor experience at Nsefu - all breakfasts were cooked over a camp fire and served on the River bank – great sunrises. Lunches – except for one bush lunch- was prepared in the kitchen but served on a formal table setting under a shade tarp. Dinner – except for one evening meal - was also prepared in the kitchen and served open air. Willie eats with the guests giving even greater opportunity for discussion of subjects of mutual interest.

People who enjoy a more rustic accommodation and treasure the historic value of this Camp, a seasoned staff; a diverse ecosystem (from salt pannes with natural hot springs to woodland and river plain) and the diversity and abundance of wildlife will love Nsefu."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Sausage Tree Camp

Sausage Tree Camp

"Sausage Tree Camp review"

5 nights Arrived 15 Aug 2021
"Covid: Sanitation station at entrance to dining area. Some staff vaccinated but no evidence of a covid program. Adherence to social distancing varied – some days place settings shoulder to shoulder; other days separated.

Structurally Sausage Tree is stunning. The tents are new, spacious and sit on the river with hippos, elephants and monitor lizards at your door literally. Each tent has all of the amenities of a modern hotel room from wet bar to multiple shower heads and plunge pool. Wifi requires that you walk to the admin office, sit outside and access a hot spot.

Chris, our butler, has been with the company for 15 years and was a wealth of knowledge as well as caring for our every need – from morning wake up coffee delivery to getting wifi connected and arranging special meals. Chris was an accomplished decorator and each day we had new decorations comprised of towel sculpture (including a monitor lizard) and native vegetation. The arrangement and décor that he prepared for our anniversary celebration was outstanding.

Most of the staff that we dealt with were caring people dedicated to providing excellent service.

Our guide Nevers grew up on the river before becoming a guide. In addition to his bush knowledge, he is a self-taught student of Zambian history and politics. It was a highly educational and enjoyable experience learning from him a lot about not only wildlife but the Zambian people. Nevers worked alone – doing his own spotting on night drives which had to be a bit stressful when trying to drive in the dark, light animals and avoid aggressive elephants. We had the impression that a spotter had been used in the past and are not certain why this was not the case while we were there.

We enjoyed seeing the area by both land and water and just sitting on the deck watching the parade of hippos and elephants that frequent the river and adjoining wetlands."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent

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