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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs H from Altringham

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

2

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

8

Excursions taken

0

Another good trip

Zambia between 18 Aug 2010 and 2 Sep 2010

Trip rating: Excellent
"As a whole the trip was excellent, although somewhat marred by our time at Kaingo which was disappointing and Pioneer camp and lack of food on the return flight.

However, this does not detract from what was on the whole a very enjoyable trip.
Lucy was like a breath of fresh air after the earlier mishaps with regards to our booking and we much appreciated Chris's offer of the flight out upgrade."

Arranged By Lucy Copson


Tena Tena

Tena Tena

"couldn't be better"

5 nights Arrived 19 Aug 2010
"All the staff were most helpful and Simon Pitt's guiding was outstanding. We were there for 5 nights and he set out to show us a hundred different birds and managed at least 110.

We like the fact that he is content to wait for events to unfold rather than rushing around and his patient approach to the animals allowed us to get very close. He also showed us many smaller things including plants which were very interesting. He took us on a morning bush walk and went at our slow pace and we were able to have a full day out with him iwhen he was able to show us parts of the Nsefu sector we have not seen before.

Animal viewing was excellent and varied, including honey badger and porcupine with good lion and marvellous leopard sightings. Lucy was an excellent hostess - attentive to detail and very friendly."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kaingo Camp

Kaingo Camp

"very disappointing"

4 nights Arrived 24 Aug 2010
"Service - poor - e.g. there were gazebo type constructions where visitors ate their lunch iprivately near their huts after it had been brought to them, and one day the previous day's empty beer bottle had not been removed and on one occasion the wine bottle in our lunch drinks container had only an inch or two of wine in it, presumably left over from another person's lunch.

When Margaret asked about this Brian the manager brushed the matter aside. Brian was unimpressive in dress and even more so in his management which was noticeable at times by its absence. We were half way through our second course at dinner one night (neither Brian nor Michelle were at the table) and no wine had been offered. When Russell complained a Zambian guide offered to bring him some wine and it was suggested he should bring it for the whole table. After the first glass we had to ask for another one because it was not offered. Brian's explanastion the next morning was that we should have helped ourselves. This might be the American way but it is not the British way, nor the South Luasngwa Valley way.

Food - poor - Food came quite frequently but was not in any way comparable with the Robin Pope expereince. For one thing it was already dished out onto our plates at dinner and there was not a great deal of it on the plates, and neither of us are big eaters. The standard of cooking was not high and on game drives at sundowners the nibbles were very poor and always the same.

Guiding - we had Ian, a newly qualified guide for some drives and he was excellent - knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and one drive with Gronwe who was also very good. Unfortunately most of our drives were with Derek Shenton who appeared to be completely disinterested in communicating his knowledge with his guests. In fact the first time we went out with him, with other guests in the vehicle, for the first 25 minutes after leaving camp he did not say a word to any of us. We always stopped for 5 minutes to watch the same hippo in a pool. On 2 occasions he had an old university friend in the passenger seat and the majority of the drive they spent chatting together, which obviously distracted him from guiding his visitors. It was as if we were an inconvenience although away from guiding he was very friendly and courteous.

We did have our best lion sighting at a kill while with him, but it had originally been found by another guide. After 2 days Russell suggested to Margaret that he try to move on to Nkwali because he was not enjoying the experience. There was a French couple often with us, Alain and Bridget, who live in Bedford and who booked through you who could confirm what we say. This was not a pleasant experience.

One plus point was that there were short wooden ladders for guests to use to get in and out of the vehicles, including when out on game drives, which was marvellous for ageing joints. This is something other camps could emulate."
Poor
Location
Excellent
Service
Poor
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Poor
Facilities
Excellent
Nkwali

Nkwali

"The best ever."

4 nights Arrived 28 Aug 2010
"What can we say? It was our 3rd visit to Nkwali and the best ever.

We were made extremely welcome - many people remembered us and asked after our daughter who was not with us this time. We felt like royalty! Kiki was his usual irrepressible self and all the staff were marvellous - nothing was too much trouble, attention to detail was remarkable and the food wonderful. The huts were spacious and clean and anything we asked for was done right away. Kanga was our guide and his guiding in many ways was similar to that of Simon's at Tena Tena. He was a friendly, help and extremely knowledgeable young man. We learned a lot from him.

The Robin Pope vehcles have improved and are easier to get into than they used to be and are more comfortable. We are not convinced of the advisability of the swimming pool being where it is, and there is now nowhere very suitable for sitting to watch animals at the lagoon, which is a pity."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Pioneer Camp

Pioneer Camp

"Weird"

1 night Arrived 1 Sep 2010
"We complained about this camp after our first visit and the path to the huts has been improved but the lighting of the paths is worse and there are no sign posts or hut numbers, so after dark it is very difficult. The owner of the camp is extremely charming and does his best and in fact he offered to do our BA check-in online for us which we had not thought about.

His main assistant, Alfred, is incredible and seems to do 3 or 4 different jobs. But in the morning, when it was still pitch black, there was no electricity in the hut until 5.30 and the portable lamp to be used as a standby worked when it felt like. Even in the evening when the lights were on they were poor.

There is an absence of anywhere to put anything in the bathroom. The road to the camp is even worse than 2 years ago which is why we have put the location as poor and we are unlikely to want to stay there again."
Average
Location
Poor
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Poor
Rooms
Poor
Food
Good

A marvellous safari

Zambia between 1 Oct 2008 and 16 Oct 2008

Trip rating: Excellent
"The trip as a whole was excellent, very enjoyable, and very fruitful as regards animal sightings, and vegetation and general environment explanations. We would highly recommend such a trip, and we would highly recommend Robin Pope Safaris, which we hope keeps its efficient but homespun individual character.

We went at the end of the season in spite of the heat, expecting good game viewings, but found the heat at night a problem and made much use of kikois. For the first time we all got gut problems, and found we were not alone in this, but cannot put the cause down to any one thing - heat, dehydration or food. However, only one of us had to miss one game drive, and staff were solicitous, so ailments were an inconvenience, rather than a major problem."

Arranged By Lucy Copson


Nkwali

Nkwali

"Excellent Nkwali"

5 nights Arrived 2 Oct 2008
"Robin Pope has now sold his major shareholding in Robin Pope safaris and several things were not the standard we had experienced before. Peopel said that he is still a director and has a large shareholding, but once somebody else holds over 50% of the shares overall control passes to them. (Robin himself seemed to be just the same as ever.)

For instance, the steps cut into the bank down to the river were positively dangerous, perhaps because it was the end of the season, but they were a disaster waiting to happen. If they had given me a spade for an hour I could have made them safe, that was how little it needed. Since the river channel has moved we found that Nkwali had lost some of its charisma, and game watching from camp in the afternoons across the river was less good than our previous visit.

The game viewing was excellent and we saw 15 giraffes mourning another. Our guide was very patient with us and happy to show us tiny creatures and plants. - he found us tiny chameleons, for example. There were elephants in the camp during the day and at night, which was very exciting. The food was very good, very plentiful, the rooms kept well-cleaned, and the staff found nothing too much trouble. All in all, we would recommend Nkwali to anyone."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Tena Tena

Tena Tena

"Tented Tena Tena"

3 nights Arrived 7 Oct 2008
"We very much enjoyed Tena Tena. The elephants came around the tents at night which was a thrill, and the game viewing in general was very good. The staff were willing to accommodate our requests, including a trip across the river for the day - in retrospect that would have been better at a cooler time of the year but the game there was excellent. Our guides were helpful and knowledgeable.

The tents are very comfortable and add a little bit extra to the safari expereince. We ate the world's best banoffi pie at Tena Tena. (even better than at Nkwali)"
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Nsefu

Nsefu

"Nsefu for leopards"

5 nights Arrived 10 Oct 2008
"Russell wanted to stay for the rest of his life! Margaret and Rachael, sharing a rondavel, found it cramped.

Our main guide was Simon, whom we found the best guide we have ever had, being endlessley patient with both humans and animals. His slow approach to animals enabled us to get close, and his enthusiasm for the environment was infectious. We particularly enjoyed the times he encouraged us to get out of the vehicle to look at something nearby. We also liked the red light he used at night sometimes, being easier on the animals than a white spotlight. We think other drivers should be encouraged to do the same. We had excellent sightings of leopards on the ground and in trees.

We also liked the location, there being plenty of animals to watch during the afternoon.

On our final day we were told we would have to miss part of our morning game drive and pack our things so that 3 new guests could be accommodated - a shower room would be made available. As we were not to leave camp for the airport until after 1 p.m. we were not satisfied and refused to co-operate, which left a bad taste. After that, with temperatures in the mid 90s, we had a one and a half hour trip at the hottest time of the day to the airport in the oldest vehicle in the fleet, which was enclosed, with no air conditioning. This trip was probably worse than in an open vehicle.

Otherwise, the staff were friendly and helpful and happy to accommodate any requests. We also found it helpful that there was still a small supply of essentials such as hair conditioner and Imodium, even though it was at the end of the season."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Pioneer Camp

Pioneer Camp

"A handy place to overnight."

1 night Arrived 15 Oct 2008
"The staff were friendly and helpful - in fact, the manager seemed to be the meeter and greeter, driver, bar tender, and general factotum. The arrangements for getting us to and from the airport worked well. The food was good and plentiful. The rooms were large, clean and tidy, but one of our bathrooms was very short of somewhere to put things and the rooms could have done with somewhere to put clothes overnight. The mattresses were terrible - lumpy and hard. We could not have fallen out, being trapped in the dip in the middle. The lighting in the rooms was very poor.

Getting between the bar/eating complex and the rooms was very difficult due to the state of the rough stone tracks and was positvely dangerous in the dark, just asking for somebody to turn an ankle on loose stones and cobbles. It was also difficult to find particular huts in the dark, and one of us wandered around in confusion fruitlessly visiting one cabin after another. There were lamps, which we think were solar powered, but they were spaced far apart, and either not working at all or so dim as to be almost useless.

A good international hotel might have been a better choice, but given that the international hotels in Lusaka do not seem to be good, from what we have read, I think the Pioneer Camp was perhaps a better end to a safari but we ourselves would not want to go there again until the tracks have been made safe to walk on."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Average
Food
Excellent

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