Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs G from EastEwell
Total number of trips
Lodges stayed in
Our July/August 2016 Zambia safari
Zambia between 25 Jul 2016 and 9 Aug 2016
Good game viewing seeing the majority of animals including lion, leopard, genet, wild dogs, buffalo, hippos, elephant, antelope, and also lots of others. Also good bird life viewing.
As always the guided walking were very well organised and with excellent guides (especially Kanga), also good spotting of animals on walks.
Having been to Zambia 4/5 times now we wonder if there are less lions than there used to be, there is some hunting allowed adjacent to some of the park boundaries and does this affect numbers and cause more inter-breeding? We did see lions but not in large numbers, max 3 at one time and no cubs were seen, but it was said there were 2/3 cubs in the areas we were at."
Luangwa River Camp
"Luangwa River Camp review"
Good game viewings.
Extremely comfortable lodge and excellent dinner."
Robin Pope Safaris Mobile Safari Camp
"Robin Pope Safaris walking safari review"
Good facilities despite them being bush camps and the staff did a great job of looking after us. Shannon was a very kind and friendly host and we enjoyed her company ( and that of all staff at the camp). The cook (Alfred) was outstanding given the basic cooking facilities t and all meals were excellent with very good service.
Absolutely outstanding guiding by Kanga who had a wonderful depth & breadth of knowledge which he conveyed with real passion and enthusiasm. Also well aided by Joffrey the trainee guide and the scout Isaiah. Good to see lions whilst walking, mating pair of lions and lots of other great sightings.
All in all a very good mobile safari, the only issue is that the area is quite a drive from the main part of the park and the other lodges, 5 hours. So quite a trek to get there and back which some people may well feel is quite a lot of time out of the day spent getting there and the day when going onto the next lodge. But you can check out the wildlife as you are travelling to/from the camps. The Tse-tse flies were annoying at times on the journeys on the first and last day but there is not much can be done about this given the location of the camps."
The lunch time meals were good and varied but meals at dinner could have been better in comparison with other safari lodges we have experienced on this and on previous holidays. We appreciated our private dinner though which was a thoughtful gesture and we were well looked after overall."
Very good meals and actually a choice of 2 dishes for starter/main/dessert which had to be selected over afternoon tea, very nice.
A very good stay."
My Jul 2014 trip
Tanzania between 22 Jul 2014 and 7 Aug 2014
An excellent trip overall with good quality guiding and a high standard of food and service. The walking availability at Chada could have been limited due to shortage of qualified staff when other clients were involved in fly camping, however, the camp manager made the effort to bring in a ranger to enable us to take part in the walking activities, which we very much appreciated. Similarly, it appeared that the Camp manager at Little Oliver's was the only qualified walking guide. We were fortunated to enjoy his expert guiding on two consecutive days, but if he had been otherwise occupied we would not have been so lucky and the enjoyment of our time there would have been affected. I feel it is important to make sure that if walking is advertised as an option at a particular lodge/camp then it is vital that qualified staff are available at all times so that guests are able to enjoy this. We did enjoy the walking option at 3 out of 4 camps, but our impression was that the camps rather expect that most clients wish to be in the vehicle most/all of the time. Perhaps the walking safari idea is less well developed in Tanzania compared to other countries such as Zambia.
Tanzania does seem an American destination so it is sometimes a lttle pertinent for the staff at the camp, or the guides, to ensure they manage the groups of guests accordingly (particularly when children are involved).
Also we were encouraged to confirm our holiday registration as parts of it were getting booked up (particularly Greystoke Mahale) only for us to find out when we got there that this was because a group of 9 (Americans) has a block booking which made the ambience of this lodge as little imbalanced for us and the other couple staying there as the maximum it could take is only 12 or so persons.
Also, given the amount of flying and some of the distances between destinations we were finding this did eat into our time on safari. Between Serengeti and Little Oliver's camp we flew Serengeti - Arusha - Little Oliver's for some reason. Thus with this itinerary the travel distance & thus time does add up compared to other safaris we have been on and slightly ditracted from the safari.
With ref to the above comment about a large block booking at a small lodge we'd have liked a little bit more checking on these issues as we booked our trip, as this did distract a little bit from the select nature of the trip. Especially considering the amount we had paid for the holiday each."
Rivertrees Country Inn
"Rivertrees Country Inn review"
Staff work hard to look after you."
"Chada Camp review"
Lots of game to see and good sightings of both grazing animals and cats, lion and leopard.
They do carry out walks but be a little wary of who you guides you as the qulaity of the guides for walks varies and thus how much you get out of it."
"Greystoke Mahale review"
Very nice lodge and pictersque location, but each rooms are a little bit down a path so as darkness sets in they soon get hit by the light fading. Good food at the main lodge and very nice bar overlooking a sunset location.
Good views and interactions with chimps on both days we were treking, and spent the optimum 1 hr with them on the first day and approx. 1/2 hr on the second before they move away from us. The nearness of the chimps each day makes the distance to walk the factor in seeing them.
If you're into activities they're very focused around seeing the chimps and the boat ride out into the lake or afternoon walk (very little to actually see in the forest) are not too great pulls. The boat trip up the coast to the river estuary is good but beware the insects as the dusk settles in."
Nomad Serengeti Safari Camp
"Nomad Serengeti Safari Camp review"
Good game viewing trips across the Serengeti and exactly what is needed to get to the Mara River without too much of a drive and see the wilderbeast crossing. Also good sightings of most animals including lions, leopards, cheetah and also a back rhino and calf (if briefly).
Very good guide and knowledgable."
Little Oliver's Camp
"Little Oliver's Camp review"
Beware the picnic on the way to the lodge after you are picked up, as it is where quite a few people congregate for lunch and rather spoils the idea of a safari in the open bush to one's self.
The other thing to be wary of in this area is the tsetse flies which can congregate in quite large numbers and soon come towards the vehical in some places when you are stopped.
Lots of game to see and good for a night drive. Also very good walking with the camp manager who was very experienced."
July 2012 S Luangwa Valley/Lower Zambezi Trip
Zambia between 14 Jul 2012 and 28 Jul 2012
The S Luangwa National Park in combination with the Lower Zambezi is a good combination for all considering a trip to Zambia. If going to the S Luangwa area don't miss out on the Robin Pope Bush Camping experience with Deb for 3 days, it was the highlight of the trip with a very knowledgeable, and patient, guide."
"Tena Tena Camp Safari experience"
The only current issue is with the location of the camp in that, over the years, the river has taken various different courses and currently the camp is not situation close to the river so the location is nice but it could be better situated by the river. That said they are in the process of moving the map and within 2/3 month it'll be in a new and better location. The general location of the camp is in a good area of the S Luangwa for game viewing and walks and also an ideal starting point for the Robin Pope Luangwa Bush camping."
Robin Pope Safaris bush-camp
"S Luangwa Bush Camping Experience"
They're very efficient, you go out on your morning game walk and by the time you walk into the new camp at 10:30 or so it'll be fully erected and set-up. The national parks warden is pretty efficient in aiding you walk safely and the guide, Debbie Tittle, is one of the best walking guides we've had the privilege to be guided by. She's very knowledgeable and informative. We learnt a lot and saw a lot of game including antelope, elephants, zebras and also 2 prides of lions, hyenas and their cubs, leopards including getting to within 20/30 feet of a leopard who was as surprised as us to see it so close up as it stormed out of a gully having been waiting for a meal ticket to potentially walk by. Sorry that the bush camping experience was only 3 days or our safari holiday this time around."
"Nsefu Camp Experience"
Good location in S Luangwa National Park."
"Nkwali Camp, Mfuwe"
The camp is located outside the National Park but just across the river from it, which could have been a problem meaning driving along to the town of Mfuwe and crossing via the road bridge but they have a very efficient system. Having obtained permission to run a motor boat, they cross the river in the boat to get you efficiently to the safari vehicles which are normally left on the sand bank across the river from the lodge and you begin your safari within 10 minutes of leaving camp. Also there's a ferry down river where you can be pulled across by wire so occasionally, and if they require one of the safari vehicles on the camp side of the river this can be utilised.
They do really look after you here and the food is very good. The game viewing is good in the park, but some of the areas and roads are a little bit more used and well maintained than on the average bush experience in S Luangwa National park. They organised a very nice sun downer reception, with champagne and canapes, for us as it was close to our wedding anniversary date.
We did have good game viewing of the usual antelope, lions, leopards, elephants, giraffe, etc."
Old Mondoro Bushcamp
"Old Mondoro Bush Camp Experience"
The camp is in a very good isolated location well away from other camps for a very nice personal safari experiences for those at camp. Very nice rooms and good main camp area. Very good and tasty food. This camp is very efficiently run by the husband and wife team and offers a good range of driving, walking, boat, both motor lunch and canoes, and fishing experiences. But if going fishing please check on the timing to see when it's best to enjoy this sport.
Certainly the canoe experience is a very nice way to cruise down the smaller channels of the Zambezi and see the wildlife, although some people just before our trip had been worried by the hippos while canoeing. We certainly saw hippos on our trip but the guides were very efficient and the hippos only postured and were no threat. Very good food and good location for an evening near the water on a sheltered platform in a good airy location. They have animals which regularly come near and through the camp including elephant and buffalo and if you're located in the room near a creek you get pretty good views of wildlife during your afternoon siesta.
Good game viewing with some different game to be seen, we even saw an African Wild Cat and also saw porcupines out sunning themselves in the daytime near their burrow. The only issue is that they do not currently have a resident lion pride in the area so lion viewing is restricted to the transient lions who happen to roam though the area."
"Chiawa Camp Experience"
The camp is in a very good location fairly far away from other camps leading to a good safari experiences for those at camp. Very nice and sumptuous rooms with some nice touches of good views, nice large baths with good views across the surrounding area while you clean yourself. The camp well run run by the husband and wife team and offers a good range of driving, walking, boat, both motor lunch and canoe trips. Good touches include a nice location for lunch/dinner, white table service set-up when you are out on a game drive/walk/boat ride for your drinks or sun downer is a very nice touch, even a lunch time cruise/float down the Zambezi with fully set table and personal waiter service over a glass of wine of two.
Certainly try the canoe trip, this is very nice floating down one of the side channels of the Zambezi and viewing game/birds as you float along. My wife went on the motor boat cruise down the Zambezi and it was like "African Queen" with her floating along the Zambezi and being the only guest in a camp chair in the center of the boat spotting all the birds etc at her leisure.
Good game viewing but some places in this area of the park are more bushy than at Old Mondoro down river so their are more places for the animals to hide and harder to see/track some of the game. That said we had good sightings of most of the game species in the area. Also close viewing of game in camp with a resident elephant or two who appear to regularly walk through camp at any time of the day.
The walking guide Paul Grobler is an excellent walking guide and very passionate and enthusiastic. He's a good birder and even though this was at the end of our 2 week safari trip we managed to increase our bird count quite a bit in just one walk with him and as he spots the birds well it gives you just that bit more time to spot them and get your eye on them before they fly off, as they usually invariably do. Also Paul is very knowledgeable on most of the wildlife and game information so we leaned quite a bit from him.
Very nice and pleasant stay in a pleasant environment I challenge anyone not to enjoy a stay with a combination of Ciawa Camp and Old Mondoro."
Rwanda, Luangwa and Livingstone Safari Trip
Zambia and 2 other countries between 26 Jul 2008 and 9 Aug 2008
South Luangwa lived up to our usual expections and the guys at Tafika base camp and the bush camps of Chikoko and Crocodile are some of the best in the area making a very good safari experience. My only comments here is they have to be careful when veting people to go on the bush camp trips as the make up of a group may affect the pleasure others get in this trip, i.e. mixing families with children with others on such a trip can be a downer. But certainly bush camps are for those who wish the real safari experience.
Toko Laya Safari Camp is an ideal place to finish yoru safari and catch the sights of Livingstone and the falls, a very well run and organsied camp despite having been only open since May 2008. A tribute to some of the good staff they have. The only issue that being in the game park next Livingstone it is not really a big game experince with no cats and not masses of wildlife. But a good place to relax and cover various experinces offered by the lodge.
Suggestions for improvement:
we were very well dealt with by Expert Africa and appreciated the opportunities to disucss fully when we wished to review/modify the itinerary."
"Mountain Gorillas Nest review"
Ok it is in a good location only being 10/15 minutes from the guide registration and start point. But it is pretty dated and lacked any sophistication and warmth, basic rooms and poor lighting and also as their is no heating they'd be pretty cold at some times of the year.
Poor meals and despite the very good and friendly services they could not salvage it. The only salvation was a reasonable bottle of red wine but at a price."
"Macushla House review"
Having an arrangement to pick you up is very convenient the only slight negative is it's distance from the International airport but this is more than made up for by the rooms and ambience at the House.
Veyr nice rooms and friendly and efficent staff and excellent cusine."
These guys have some of the best and most experienced giudes in the area so you are assured of a good safari when you are here. Also excellent rooms, service and food. Covers all activities you would expect of a safari camp + microlight flights if you wish, but 15 minutes is a little short for time when you are in the air.
The highlight of our stay here was seeing 6/8 wild dogs who were passign though the are during one of our game drives."
Chikoko Tree Camp
"Chikoko Tree Camp review"
Good area for guiding and seeing all the required wildlife. An excelent choise for anyone wishing to enjoy bushcamping and walking in the wild.
Very experienced guides some of the best in the Luangwa area."
Big Lagoon Camp
"Crocodile Bushcamp review"
An excelent choise for anyone wishing to enjoy bushcamping and walking in the wild especially in combination with Chikoko Bushcamp and the main camp of Tafika. Very experienced guides some of the best in the Luangwa area.
The highlight of the trip was getting to within 40 feet of a female liones."
Toka Leya Camp
"Toko Laya Safari Camp"
As the park is near Livingstone the safari experince is a little tame with no cats being present in the park at all. But this is partially offset by the camps location on the banks of the Zambesi and also offering river boat rides towards the falls, but be wary of going too far down river to then be mixing with the evening booze crusies of teh larger boats. An excelent choice due to it's location and what it offers in the way of activities.
Having been only open since May they have done very well to reach this standard in such a short time which is a tribute to some of the good guides and staff they have brought on board. The experienced guides are a bit wasted on the boat rides and drives due to the sparse nature of the game but do try and get them out on a game walk, despite the lack of game/birds to count, you'll then experince some of the knowledge they can pass on when encouraged."
Good game reviews.
Nice lodge and satisfactory dinner."