Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs B from Teddington
Total number of trips
Lodges stayed in
A wonderful safari and an excellent holiday
Tanzania and 2 other countries between 6 Oct 2016 and 23 Oct 2016
Everything went like clockwork, it was very relaxing but also an intense safari experience.
Our final week on the Zanzibar beach at Pongwe Beach Hotel was the ultimate in exotic pampered chilling out - very informal and laid back with just the right mix of excellent service, great food, and wow location.
Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:
As everything worked so well, and the advice we were given was so good, I can't think of anything to improve it - just keep it up!"
Arranged By Lyndsey Marris
"Good overnight rest"
"A wonderful camp"
The accommodation was just about perfect. Everything was really well thought through, down to the smallest detail, and it all worked. The banda we had was a very clever and pleasing design, and really comfortable. And all sorts of game just sauntered past! All it lacked was a hammock on the veranda (although the beanbag chair was a pretty good substitute).
The activities were very well organised and planned. As well as the game drives, we had a really interesting walk with George and Mohammed, and a couple of excellent boat trips with Mohammed. We saw a large variety of animals, birds and plants, and were given very good explanations of how they fitted into the ecosystem, and how it all worked. We had some up-close (but very well handled) confrontations with elephants, and got very close to lions, crocodiles and lots of other animals.
The food was really excellent – up to London restaurant standards. The locations chosen for sundowners were amazing.
We saw and did so much it didn’t seem possible it had all happened in only 4 days. However it was never rushed, and always felt very comfortable and relaxed. All together a very comfortable, relaxing, but intensive experience: just what we came for."
Mwagusi Safari Camp
We felt that the staff (apart from the guides) were embarrassingly deferential to the guests, behaving like servants (in complete contrast to the more relaxed and ‘family’ atmosphere at Siwandu). The organisational timings were not ideal. However we understand that this is being reviewed, and while we were there the more experienced guides worked round them and set their own timings for drives. One day Geoffrey took us off for a whole day, with a packed lunch. We saw an amazing amount of animals that day! It all worked fine for us, because Geoffrey organised a very good timetable for us, and everyone tried to make it work for the guests. We were offered a game drive to the airstrip on our last day, with an early start and breakfast on the way. This was great, we had an amazing breakfast, but the highlight was seeing a leopard sleeping in a tree.
The food was fine, but nothing to write home about (apart from the delicious cinnamon bread!).
What was really great were the animals. We saw leopards up close twice, an amazing buffalo hunt by a pride of lions, then two hours later, the eating of the kill (we missed the actual kill as we had to go back for lunch). We saw more lions, including lots of cubs, doing more things, than we thought was possible. We also saw just about all the different antelopes (except Eland) and a plethora of other animals. We saw lots of hyena and a variety of raptors. We almost saw wild dogs (we got within about 10 minutes of them, from the fresh dung and the overlay of the paw prints on the previous tyre tracks). We saw a massive herd of buffalo (Geffrey estimated about 1,300), and lots of giraffe and elephants. After a day or so the elephants and giraffe became so familiar they were, like the impala, part of the scenery. We saw so much, and had such a great time, that is barely credible that it all happened in only four days!"
"A wonderful experience"
We would also have liked another night in the Emerson Spice. It was so interesting and comfortable, the staff were so good and helpful, the ambience was terrific and the food was so tasty!"
Pongwe Beach Hotel
The swimming was good – fun swimming in the sea when the tide was up, and a great pool when the tide was out. We had a really low tide when we were there, and walked a really long way out onto the reef. It was fascinating. Lots of locals were out there too, picking up stranded fish and crabs and poking octopus out of their holes.
We had dinner on the beach one night when the tide was up – beautiful. The seafood platter is out of this world – two sorts of lobster, octopus, squid, prawns and crab claws. We love seafood but there was so much we couldn’t finish it all. The set menu dinners were very appetising, always a choice of two dishes for starter and main, and always a fish choice for both. The food was beautifully presented. The breakfasts were good too, so we never sampled the lunch menu, just having a bar snack instead. Too much great food!
The bar did lovely cocktails too – the Pongwe Sunrise was our favourite, closely followed by pina collada made from fresh coconut.
The hotel organised a very good spice trip for us (to the Union Spice Farm). The taxi driver (Jomo) that took us there and back was great – showed us lots and told us lots about the local people and culture too.
We were very sorry to leave Pongwe Beach."
Fantastic African adventure
Namibia and 2 other countries between 27 Jul 2008 and 25 Aug 2008
It was all tremendous fun - we saw amazing things and met lovely people.
We have lots of wonderful memories and enough stories to last us years!
Suggestions for improvement:
No - you did a fantastic job for us!"
"Perfect first night in namibia"
"A passable stop-over"
The younger receptionist treated us to icy indifference for the rest of our stay, as though her loss of face was our fault."
The food in the restaurant was good too, and the staff very helpful. The star was Fritz, the chief guide (and main mover behind the organisation of the place). His knowledge was prodigious, and he was really good company. He gave us a first rate tour of the Fish River Canyon, with an in-depth account of the geological history that I (as a professional geologist) couldn't fault.
He persuaded us it was safe to drive down to the Orange River, which turned out to be one of the best drives of the holiday, albeit the most lonely (we didn't see another person or car until we got to the road along the Orange River, and only saw 6 other vehicles in 260km)."
"Fantastic desert views"
We did our own barbeque there (they provide barbeque packs, there was a barbeque outside our lodge). Watching the sun set over the desert was wonderful, as was watching the eagles that nested half way up the cliff behind us soaring across the rocks.
The family who run the place are great company, and also very helpful."
Sossus Dune Lodge
"Luxury in the desert"
All staff were friendly and helpful, but the place had a very 'corporate' feel, like a high class conference centre. However individual members of staff chatted to us in a very relaxed and friendly way, and went out of their way to be helpful.
The trip to the dunes was really well organised, and the guide was excellent."
Zebra River Lodge
"A beautiful chill-out"
We spent a lot of time absorbing the fascinating geology, and talking to the staff and other guests. Unfortunately the owner was not there, as they were arranging his Mother's funeral."
Ballooning in the Namib Desert
"Totally amazing baloon flight"
6 Aug 2008 • Morning excursion
"Great base in Swakopmund"
A very good base for activities around Swakopmund"
Coast and Sandwich Harbour
"Dune-flying in a Landrover"
9 Aug 2008 • All-day excursion
He also demonstrated some spectacular landrover driving, culminating in flying off the crest of a huge dune. The trip was made even better by the company – we shared the landrover with a very amusing group of Italians, and laughed a lot.
White Lady B & B
"A good stop-over"
The landlady was lovely, and very helpful, telling us a lot about the tin mine and how to see it.
The accommodation was comfortable. And we had the best breakfast of the whole trip."
"Spectacular lodge with amazing elephants"
One night was very definitely not enough, although we managed to get there in time to go on the afternoon drive to find the desert elephants – one of the best wildlife drives of the trip, largely due to the brilliant guide, Lister, who tracked a large herd of elephants with amazing skill, and effortlessly followed them across very rough country with some amazing Landrover driving."
Okonjima Bush Camp
"Fun with the Cheetas"
The accommodation and food was really good too."
"Practical overnight stop"
Comfortable enough, but after some of the other places we had stayed in, a bit dull.
The food was OK, but again dull by comparison to what we had been enjoying elsewhere."
"A wonderful safari experience"
The organisation was marvellous – it all felt really easy-going and relaxed, but everything happened just when we wanted it too, and with flair.
We were also amazed by the skill of our guide Pat, not just in finding animals and getting really close to them, but also in bush mechanics – effecting a seemingly impossible repair to a Uri transmission with minimal tools while 50 yards from a pride of lions. And joking while he did it! He was also really good company, and very well informed on a really wide range of issues."
Some of the other guests were great fun, but others were rather reserved and stuffy. Any reservations about the atmosphere were more than made up by the quality of the game drives, with excellent guides (our guide, Trust, was really good company, found lots of animals and told us lots about them with a relaxed and chatty manner. We also had very interesting long chats with him about Botswanan (and wider southern African) social issues and politics over sundowners (he did a good line in G&Ts too)."
David Livingstone Safari Lodge
"Slick and arrogant"
That said, the service was faultless and the room very comfortable, although parts of the hotel complex were still a building site."
We didn't get to try the food or any of the facilities apart from the room as our BA flight to Nairbi was three hours late, so we arrived at the hotel at 1am and left again at 4.30am before breakfast."