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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Thor & Deb from BC Canada

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

2

Countries visited

4

Lodges stayed in

17

Excursions taken

0

My Oct 2021 "Alone in Africa Because of Covid" trip

Zambia and 1 other country between 25 Oct 2021 and 16 Nov 2021

Trip rating: Excellent
"A big shout-out to Maruska who held our hands through extraordinary times. We had to delay the trip by a year, and then became very much the vanguard of the African safari tourists because of Covid.

We felt as if we essentially had the continent to ourselves--which was wonderful but a bit weird too. The pandemic complicated things quite considerably because of the need for timely PCR tests, flights disappearing, places closing, etc., but Maruska helped get it all organized and all the facets of the trip she organized came together perfectly.

This is our second trip with Expert Africa, the first the result of a recommendation from a friend. Elizabeth, who organized our first trip, did a fabulous job, and now that high bar of service continues. We are likely to go on safari again, and we will most certainly use Expert Africa again--and will recommend your services to friends.

Again: thank you for taking such great care of us, Maruska. I very much appreciated your solicitous and friendly professionalism.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

Maintain that high standard!"

Arranged By Maruska AdyeRowe


Mwamba Bushcamp

Mwamba Bushcamp

"Mwamba Bushcamp review"

3 nights Arrived 25 Oct 2021
"A fabulous start to our safari.

Perhaps our favourite camp because of the wonderful aesthetics of the camp itself, and the hide, from which we saw fabulous stuff. Guiding was excellent. Highly recommended.

Saw a leopard with her two cubs--which is apparently unheard of. From your list of animal sightings, I ticked off buffalo X3, elephant (too many to count), Giraffe X2, hippos (too many to count), leopard 2X different sitings, up close, lions (lots, and with kills), Hyena X1, porcupine X2, Honey badger X1, White Tailed Mongoose, Bushy tailed mongoose, Spotted genet, elephant shrew, crocodiles. I'm not listing the 'common' stuff.

Lots of birds, of course."
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Tafika

Tafika

"Tafika review"

2 nights Arrived 28 Oct 2021
"Permanent camp, which is arguably less charming than the seasonal ones, but more plush. Setting is spectacular.

The family running it are the owners and founders, passionate about wildlife, Zambia, and the environment. Wonderful discussions. Food was excellent. Guiding was superb, except Makupa, who needs to be told to tone it down a bit. He's remarkably capable but way too "in your face".

Lloyd, however, was one of the best guides we've ever had--over the span of many safaris. Lots of encounters with a pack of 14 wild dogs, including a kill right in front of us--which was a bit sobering. a number of excellent leopard sightings, including a mother with her semi-grown cub.

Staff was entirely solicitous to our every need, and those cold towels at the end of the drive were divine!"
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Chikoko Tree Camp

Chikoko Tree Camp

"Chikoko Tree Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 30 Oct 2021
"This camp belongs to Tafika and is their temporary, seasonal camp, to which one walks, and then does walking tours.

This was our first experience with walking safaris, and we thoroughly enjoyed them, but suggest they may be more for seasoned safari-goers, who have 'seen it all', because the concentration is on the smaller flora and fauna--and birds. One sees fewer 'big things', but more in depth. Thoroughly enjoyed the slow pace and the silence. Camp amenities were wonderful, and make sure to get a tour of the kitchen!

Guiding is different when walking, but it was first rate!"
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Tafika

Tafika

"Tafika review"

3 nights Arrived 1 Nov 2021
"Same applies to our second stint at Tafika. Please see my previous entry. [Ed: See below]"
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Sprayview Hotel

Sprayview Hotel

"Sprayview Hotel review"

2 nights Arrived 4 Nov 2021
"Sprayview Hotel at Livingston Falls was my discovery on line, so Expert Africa has no responsibility for our mediocre experience (at best).

It is well past its 'best before' date, the staff are young and untrained (but very nice), stuff in the room didn't work -- and the price was high! There are far better deals, and I recommend one of the many B&Bs, or a better hotel.

Its location was pretty good: walking distance to the town, and to the Falls. We weren't too excited about visiting Victoria Falls, but are very glad we did. It was wonderful. There's no need to hire a guide at the park. Yes, we sighted elephants--in the middle of the town!"
Poor
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Poor

Location
Good
Service
Poor
Activities
Average
Rooms
Poor
Food
Average
Facilities
Average
Camp Hwange

Camp Hwange

"Camp Hwange review"

4 nights Arrived 6 Nov 2021
"Another permanent camp, so perhaps more plush but less charming than the small, temporary camps. It was the largest of the five camps we visited. Very pleasant with excellent food and friendly and helpful staff.

Moses and Robert were our guides, and we had a wonderful time with them. learned so much about local culture, as well as the flora and fauna--and we laughed a whole lot. We also did some walking safaris with the most amazing tracker whose name I'm embarrassed to have forgotten.

We heard the leopards mating, very close by, and he tried to lead us to them on foot, but they ended up enjoying their afterglow out of sight of us. Our Land Cruisers at other camps were entirely roof-less. Here they had the typical canvas roof. That was great for the scorching sun, but ultimately I prefer the roof-less variant."
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Vundu Camp

Vundu Camp

"Vundu Camp review"

4 nights Arrived 10 Nov 2021
"Fabulous location on the Zambezi River. The main building is raised and very pleasant and plush. Lovely! The monkeys ran off with the granola jar.

The rooms are huge, but rather tired, and made of a canvas-like plastic material that wasn't very pleasant to live in. Three sinks, two toilets and two showers seem rather unnecessary. I'd rather have less, and smaller, but of better quality.

Food was excellent, and Dave, our guide, was wonderful. We did walking safaris to a pack of dogs, and to a pack of lions snoozing--and I'm not entirely sure who was more surprised, they or us, when we came upon them. Dave, however, reacted in the perfect way. We saw the elephant who stands on his hind legs to reach the best fruit, and he obliged us for a photo of that operation (and I forget his name). Also two hippos battling it out for control of the pond.

It was 44 degrees the day we arrived, and parched. We experienced the first rain of the season on our walk. Wonderful."
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Average
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Image alt

Amanzi Lodge

"Amanzi Lodge review"

2 nights Arrived 14 Nov 2021
"This was one hotel we found on our own on the web, and recommend very highly. The architecture is a beautiful interpretation of traditional thatched Africa huts, but the amenities inside are top notch.

The extensive gardens surrounding the 'huts' are absolutely splendid and an oasis of tranquility in a city that isn't exactly tranquil. Food and service was excellent. It is set out in one of Harare's 'leafy suburbs'.

We both enjoyed an exfoliation and a massage, which did wonders after three weeks in the bush."
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

Our retirement trip

Tanzania and 1 other country between 7 Sep 2015 and 8 Oct 2015

Trip rating: Excellent
"It was absolutely a fabulous trip. We are seasoned off-the-beaten-track travellers and I absolutely marvel that everything, everything, worked exactly as it was supposed to. Here we were, in the middle of central Tanzania, waiting for a 10:05 flight. Guess what? At 10:03, there was the plane, buzzing animals off the grass runway, then touching down to pick us up. It happened every time.

How do they manage to have tonic, gin, lime, glasses, ice, and potato chips in Katavi? It must be a logistical nightmare--but there was my gin and tonic, always perfectly served. Dazzling!

We felt safe, treated so well by enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and genuinely caring staff throughout..... And then there were the animals. We never saw a rhine, because they have been poached to virtual extinction in East Africa, but we saw most everything else, and up close and personal. Having a leopard on your tent porch is not something I will soon forget.

A word of caution: Mother Nature can be entirely unsentimental. We watched two lionesses kill a baby giraffe as the helpless adult giraffes watched. This was not easy...... but it is what happens out there. This is not Disneyland."

Arranged By Elizabeth Chapman


Image alt

Inside Afrika Boutique

"reasonable small hotel in good location."

1 night Arrived 7 Sep 2015
"We found the Inside Africa Boutique Hotel on the web and spent three nights there in total. It was friendly, efficient, punctual, and pleasant with a nice pool and very few room--which we like. Breakfast was hearty. Place felt safe. Clean.

We could walk to the 'Hotel Rwanda', and other nearby good restaurants which were recommended to us, and there was a nice view. It's in a residential area. Would we stay there again? Yes, but it isn't anything special and certainly not luxurious.

The bathroom fixtures were a bit dodgy, and one of the pipes began to leak while we were there--but they fixed it right away."
Average
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Average

Location
Good
Service
Good
Facilities
Average
Rooms
Average
Food
Good
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

"Did what it was supposed to do."

3 nights Arrived 8 Sep 2015
"Very pleasant and comfortable--though the rooms have the goofiest shower stalls you will ever see (but they work). Water pressure, wi-fi, and those mod-cons can be a bit dodgy, but the staff does its best and you are in the heart of Africa. Get over it!

The food was excellent and huge variety. Staff was unfailingly friendly and helpful.

Fun to talk to fellow gorilla trekkers and to compare notes in the lounge."
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Image alt

Inside Afrika Boutique

"Inside Afrika Boutique review"

1 night Arrived 11 Sep 2015
"We stayed here on the way back from gorilla trekking, so see my previous comments"
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Nomad Serengeti Safari Camp

Nomad Serengeti Safari Camp

"Of boy, here we go....."

4 nights Arrived 12 Sep 2015
"This was our introduction to Nomad's camps. We ended up staying at 4, and all were simply wonderful. Raj and his crew welcomed us and I liked that he and an alternating guide always had dinner with us. This allowed us to meet as fellow humans, and to allow us to hear stories from the guides--and to pick their brains. We were curious to see the cook tent and they facilitated this.

One night a leopard prowled through the edge of the camp as we were watching 'Bush TV' (campfire), and the enthusiasm with which the guides ran for torches and bade us follow them as we followed the animal made it clear that the staff are genuine enthusiasts. Great food, exemplary service at out tent. Guiding in the jeeps was superb.

What I didn't know was that I dropped my GoPro out of my bag. At the next camp (Katavi) I got word of this from the camp manager who had been contacted by Raj. There wasn't time to get it to me at Katavi, but there it was waiting for me at Mahale--having travelled half way through Tanzania. If that isn't honest and fabulous service, I don't know what is.

Because this camp is mobile, it is more spartan than the other Nomad camps, but that is a relative term. It was divine!"
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Chada Camp

Chada Camp

"One word: Esprit de corps"

4 nights Arrived 16 Sep 2015
"Jean has created a camp with the most remarkable esprit de corps we experienced throughout Tanzania (we were on a 5 week safari) and top among Nomad camps. Everyone jumped to duty, all the time, but with enthusiasm, much laughter, ribbing, and dedication. Jean also ate with us, as did a guide. This is such a great idea. The food was excellent, the beer cold, the icy towel always awaited us as we piled out of the jeeps at the end of our safari.....

The elephants parade through the camp, and one played with the guy wire of our tent. Kati is wild and different, but fabulous, and the camp was fabulous. Again, the guiding was exemplary.

I set out to see an animal before our guide and it finally happened when I spotted the lioness before he did--but in fairness to him, he was in the middle of negotiating a steep ravine in the Land Rover at that precise moment, and was rather busy at the time. I must admit that he spotted it a split second after I did--but I beat him :)"
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Greystoke Mahale

Greystoke Mahale

"Unique.... The best....."

3 nights Arrived 20 Sep 2015
"Ah.... Mahale..... Of our five weeks in the bush, it was the best, but it is difficult to compare with the others because of its uniqueness. Aesthetically, the buildings (and much of the furniture and fitments) are made of old dhows and are exquisite. Cam and Kate were consulate hosts and went above and beyond to make our stay perfect--including setting the entire dining table for the 12 of us on the beach on the final night. Happy hour at the bar on the point was divine.

Butate, our guide, was one of the most caring and lovely people I've ever met, to say nothing of his knowledge and guiding skills. He loves the chimps, that is clear. He also took us through his village, which was a wonderful experience. He is also a very, very funny man, and we spent an inordinate amount of time falling over with laughter.

Chimp trekking was fabulous, though my camera struggled with the light and shadow, and with the focus, because the jungle can be very dense. We had one very easy trek to see them, and one very tough one.

And then there's Big Bird, the tame pelican who, if truth be told, rules the camp. We guests had to fish for him, rescue him from a boat that threatened to cart him to the nearby village--where he would have ended up in the pot, and generally ensure that his life was bliss. He was the most wonderful bird I've met, and I miss him and worry for him. He is too friendly for his own good. Long Live Big Bird!"
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kigelia Camp

Kigelia Camp

"Excellent--not quite up to Nomad standards"

3 nights Arrived 23 Sep 2015
"This was our 4th Nomad camp and it was excellent--but not quite up to the standards of the rest. There was the evening when the waiters forgot to top up our wine because they were having a good yarn at the edge of the mess, and I had to chase them down. There were a couple of times when there weren't any greeting-committee with icy towels when we returned from the drive..... those sorts of little things.

The food was excellent, the guiding was up to the usual impeccable Nomad standards, and the tent was comfortable. I was awaken at 2 AM by a leopard who decided to sit on our porch--and have the footprints to prove it! Wow.

I understand that Kigali is a newly acquired Nomad camp. That being the case, I expect Ken, the affable camp manger, will have it whipped into ship-shape in short order. If need be, send Jean from Katavi. He's have that place humming in days!"
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Lake Manze Adventure Camp

Lake Manze Adventure Camp

"Good camp. Not of Nomad calibre, but good."

3 nights Arrived 26 Sep 2015
"With hindsight, I would stay at the Nomad camp in the Selous, just because of their impeccable standards. I image, however, that Lake Manze camp must be considerably less expensive than a Nomad camp. Much bigger, with 35 (?) spaces for guests. The food was good. The coordination between the bar staff and the restaurant waiters lacked, and beers didn't arrive, or arrived incorrectly..... or were really slow..... Sometimes seemed to be a bit of a comedy show--but they were all friendly and the environment was lovely.

Nighttime visitations by civil cats, elephants, etc.--which was wonderful. No electric lights in the tents. Only a kerosene lamp and a flashlight. My wife found that a challenge. It didn't bother me. Guiding was up to Nomad standard (despite this not being a Nomad camp). We went to 5 camps in Tanzania.

If I were to drop one, it would be the Selous. 60% of its elephant population has been slaughtered by poachers in the last ten years. Government of Tanzania: do something about this -- and I don't mean collude with the poachers!"
Good
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Good

Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Pole Pole

Pole Pole

"I widh I were back there, right now...."

8 nights Arrived 29 Sep 2015
"Marina and her staff did their best to make our 8 days at Pole Pole as enjoyable as possible--and they never disappointed. The food was the best we had in Africa. Italian-based, but I was delighted that they had a weekly Swahili menu too. The presentation of the food, too, was exemplary.

Some of the staff are not familiar with western table/service etiquette, and would forget what was on the menu, etc. Having said that, they were all wonderfully kind and friendly, and did their very best. Thus this is not a complaint, and I urge guests to cut some of the younger waiters a bit of slack if they need it. The setting and environment was delightful and aesthetically very carefully crafted to be as beautiful as possible--while integrating into the local landscape.

The bungalows were beautiful: absolutely beautiful. We did have problems with mosquitos in our screened area around the bed, despite the staff and I doing our best to find out where the little devils were getting in.... Drink prices were too high. Way too high. The highest we experienced, by a considerable %, in 5 weeks in Rwanda Kenya, and Tanzania.

We were at Pole Pole for the scuba diving, and David, from Mafai Island Diving, came by every evening to detail the next day's adventures--and typically picked us up and dropped us off right on Pole Pole's beach. Not bad...... The diving was fabulous!"
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

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