Travel reviews by Mr F & party from Portugal
Total number of trips
Lodges stayed in
Namibia and 1 other country between 22 Oct 2013 and 10 Nov 2013
The Caprivi is definitely a totally different part of Namibia - landscape, people, flora and fauna - you feel immersed in real Africa. The Nkasa-Lupala National Park (alias Mamili NP) is indeed a true hidden gem, where you can experience dry and wet ecosystems /environments. However game is (still) not so abundant as in the Okavango /Moremi.
The Panhandle was marvelous. We had the Okavango for ourselves. Boat trips into the channels are mandatory and they will not disappoint . The birding is superb.
Crossing Moremi into Chobe Savuti and Chobe river front was a trip within a trip in itself. What an experience. It just enriched us as kin travelers to Africa. S19º13'22,0'' E23º23'20,7´´ was the place where we got stuck with our 4WD. No matter how prepared we feel we are, how careful we can be, in Africa, the unexpected can really happen and for that one should be minimally prepared.This comes with proper advise and planning - Expert Africa has done it again, phenomenally - thank you."
Arranged By Maruska AdyeRowe
"Waterberg - a confortable stopover"
Ndhovu Safari Lodge
"Ndhovu Safari Lodge : a taste of the Okavango"
After a long drive, Ndhovu becomes an oasis where you can relax and unwind. Monica and Johan were unobtrusive hostesses with a warm welcome. The Okavango just in front of our tented rooms makes its presence heard, with the hippo calls. The rooms are clean and spacious. The wooden deck overlooking the river is magnificent spot to watch the occasional African Otter (early morning) and to witness a spectacular african sunset.
On the following day we drove to the Mahango National Park, which can be easily and fairly explored with a sedan car."
Nkasa Lupala Tented Lodge
"Nkasa Lupala - a hidden gem!"
Reaching Sangwali we had people from the lodge waiting for us as expected. After leaving the sedan vehicle on the Nkasa Lupala NP / Wuparo Conservancy offices, the transfer to the lodge was done on a 4WD, which took less then 30 minutes.
The lodge itself is on the Wuparo Conservancy, which just borders the Nkasa Lupala National Park , and is situated on the margins of one of the water channels that links to the main Linyanti River (Kwando/ Chobe). Simone, Laura, Erika and of course the little and brave Hetore are incredible hostesses, that made our journey worthwhile. The whole lodge is driven on a low impact policy without leaving you without any amenity. The food is great, and the coffee excellent.
The lodge is the only operator on the Nkasa Lupala NP, and thus, as a visitor you feel privileged to be there enjoying it all. Activities are well explored as we can choose from game drives to the NLNP (including night drives on the neighboring Wuparo conservancy), boat trips on the subsidiary channels to the Linyanti River, or better, a combo activity that includes a whole morning, that comprises a game drive into the park and a boat drive on the Linyanti river itself, with the "Botswanan" Linyanti concession on the Chobe National Park, just on the other side. Incredible value.
Game wise the park is still being naturally re-populated, but we managed to see quite a lot including lion. Birdlife is prolific.
At the end of our visit, we felt that a three night stay is almost mandatory as to fully enjoy this hidden gem of Namibia."
"Nxamaseri : the Okavango itself !"
At the meeting point our guide for the next two days, Adam, was already waiting for us, as we arrived 30 minutes ahead of schedule. We left our vehicle on the Nxamaseri village, which was perfectly looked after. The transfer to the lodge, was done by 4WD and boat, and was done under 20 minutes. On the way we crossed the dry channel beds, that after the rainy season are completely flooded. We could immediately sense the profusion of bird life.
The lodge itself is a water based activity lodge, on the banks of the Nxamaseri channel , a tributary of the main Okavango river. Both waterbodies are awesome to be explored. The bird life is incredible. A game drive on the dry channel beds, neighboring the Nxamaseri island is, as well, worth to explore, as we can witness the everyday rural life of the "river people" while checking for wildlife.
Although we have not seen "big game" on this part of the Okavango (we were not in the flatter Delta), we felt once again, privileged, to visit this part of the Okavango, as we had the river just for ourselves. We thank Theo and Adam for being so hospitable and for making our stay unforgettable."
"Rileys Hotel - a convenient classical"
We used Rileys just for one day /night in Maun, as we would need a town hotel in order to get organized for the Moremi/ Chobe trip (get supplies, exchanging money, car delivery, etc...). Within walking distance we had the major shopping centre of town with supermarkets, bottle stores, banks etc...
The hotel is a colonial style classic, rooms are spacious and clean and the service adequately good. Breakfast was excellent but the "a la carte" dinner was average/ standard.
The room offered was located on a silent part of the hotel, away from the main road, and we could have a restful evening/ night sleep."
"Thirdbridge : Moremi afterall"
The entrance to the park was easy and asked advice on road conditions / sightings to Thirdbridge. This was done on every single gate we checked in.
Apparently, they recently opened to the public a concession that was previously closed - the Black Pools Loop drive - a turnoff to the left from the main road to 3rd bridge just 5 km after exiting South Gate, and loops all the way to Xini Lagoon. We saw plenty of game, though no predators. We stopped for lunch at " the picnic site" , deeply in the loop, overlooking a pan. Fantastic.
From there we made our game drive straight to 3rd bridge, through sandy (sometimes deep sand) terrain. At 16:00 hrs we were at the campsite and settled for the evening. We did not venture for a late afternoon game drive.
Check in at the campsite was uneventful. The site itself is situated on fantastic spot, next to a papyrus lined water channel, where elephants came to drink at the end of the day. We settled on Campsite #3 under the shade of a magnificent camelthorn
tree. The ablution facilities were really good and clean, with hot water showers, toillet paper, hand soap dispensers, and electrically lightened. Next to the campsites there were a few tap water points that could be used for minor things."
Lodge not featured by Expert Africa
"Xakanaxa - eye opener!"
In our plans there was an "easy and shorter" drive from Thirdbridge to Xakanaxa (around 20 Km) that would be complemented by extra game drives on the way. So, as we left Thirdbridge, we headed to Mboma Island and did the loop drive around. The roads were tight with overgrown vegetation, and we saw little.
After Mboma we decided to head for Xakanaxa, enjoy the game drive, reach the campsite in time for lunch and then go for a afternoon game drive.
As we passed Thirdbridge we lost the main track to Xakanaxa and got caught on the road web made by several tracks around this region of Moremi. Our main mistake was to rely on the GPS and not reading properly the maps we had with us. At the end of the day, we sorted that we never reached 4th Bridge, and the GPS have sent us through a shorter path (but not safer!) immediately after Thirdbridge.
It was while trying to get into the track again, that we got distracted and had the accident with the tree log, that was lying at the side of the road/track.
So, our initially short and easy game drive from Thirdbridge to Xakanaxa proved to be the longest of our holiday, but fortunately, with a positive outcome. It was a "eye opener".
The camp is situated on a beautiful location, along a watercourse and with very nice shades. As for Thirdbridge, is has very good and clean facilities (hot showers, hand soap dispensers, etc.., ), fire places, brai sites and water points scattered all along."
Lodge not featured by Expert Africa
North Gate Campsite
"North Gate - a pleasant surprise !"
The drive to North Gate was fine. We had two options in driving to North Gate, either follow the straight route through Paradise Pools or make a detour inwards, and avoid the most flooded areas near Paradise Pools. We took the second option, but investigated most of the loops West (gone backwards) of Dombo Hippo Pools. The place is fantastic as we saw lots of game. The drive was easy, which helped us to regain some confidence.
After lunch we investigated the East part to the Gate, which is drier and sandier, and totally different from the West side. Nevertheless we still saw a lot.
The camp itself is located along the Khwai river, with the camping sites under the shade of nice big trees. As for the previous campuses in Moremi the facilities offered were very good and clean (toilets, hot showers, hand soap dispensers, etc.., ), fire places, brai sites and water points scattered all along. Luckily and for the first time we had Vervet monkeys on camp, trying their luck."
Lodge not featured by Expert Africa
"Savute - a classical came through"
The drive proved prolific in game as we approached the northern wetter part of the marsh - the "elephant highway" was incredible - probably thousands of elephants, directing themselves for the water - black dots in the distance that looked like trees - just incredible.
As the Savuti channel is now running, most of the action occurs away from the main waterholes that exist near the camp, and wildlife just congregates along the river southeast Leopard Rock. All the loops around (Rhino Vlei, Motsibi Island) are well worth the drive. Thousands of elephants, buffalo, zebra congregate there. We did not see any carnivores, but lions and leopards were sighted in the area.
During the night, we had a leopard around camp (Francolins were frantic during the night with their alarm calls, and in the morning we could see the footprints), an elephant feeding and bathing just behind our rooftop tent, and a hippo feeding around. Just interesting stuff!!!
Once again the facilities around camp were excellent."
Lodge not featured by Expert Africa
"Ihaha - Chobe river front at its best"
Fortunately the drive was easily done. The Chobe forest cutline is now a "two lane" transit road, with some deep pockets of sand that are challenging, but passable. On the first part of this transit road, we had one of the highlights of the all trip - a pack of five wild dogs resting under a shade. We just stayed there for approximately 30-45 minutes observing them.
From Kachikau to Kasane the road is now all tarred and in very good condition. We reached Kasane 5 hours after leaving Savute.
We got into the park through the northern Kasane gate (Sidudu Gate) and not the southern Ngoma Gate, as we needed to go to Kasane to buy some bread. We tried to buy it at the smaller shops in Kachikau and Mabele but with no avail.
After entering the park we just drove directly to Ihaha Camping site, on Game drive mode, which took us two hours. Surprisingly - our second highlight of the trip- a colony of Carmine Bee-Eaters were just waiting for us to be seen (we were looking for them since Nxamaseri, and lost faith in finding them) -
The park is now much busier with tourists, then it was in 2005 during our first visit. Nevertheless the southern part, next to Ihaha, is much quieter, with almost no cars around. For our surprise the park was almost de-voided of elephants (probably due to the opening of international corridors), as compared to 2005. Still, Chobe is still Chobe and well worth a visit. We managed to see Sable and Puku and Lion.
Ihaha is situated on a amazing stretch of River, where one just can spend time observing African Fish Eagles feeding.
Unfortunately, and for our surprise (as they are the ones nearer to a major Botswana town) we cannot say that the facilities offered (ablution wise) were of the same standard we encountered in Thirdbridge, Xakanaxa, Khwai and Savute. The toilets and showers did not seem properly clean and the premises were dark. Hot water and toilet paper was available though."
Lodge not featured by Expert Africa
Chobe River Lodge
"The Garden Lodge - back to be pampered"
The private access to the river, is without any doubt a privilege for the guests. We were very fortunate in having a boat tour just for ourselves, which was excellent, as we were able to choose what to see. Seeing Chobe from inside-out is really different and unforgettable. The guiding was excellent."
Thamalakane River Lodge
"Thamalakane River Lodge- Quite overnight stop"
Thamalakane River Lodge was a perfect choice to relax and getting organized after such a long drive. The people were attentive and courteous."
Kalahari Bush Breaks
"Kalahari Bush Breaks : genuine and friendly"
After checking in, Mrs. Barnard was very kind in arranging us some homemade biltong sandwiches , which tasted marvelously. At the end we even bought from her some homemade biltong.
The Lodge/ Guesthouse, is on a tranquil spot, and the service was attentive and friendly."
Another Expertly arranged trip to Africa
South Africa between 10 Oct 2011 and 30 Oct 2011
We tried to be out of the main camps and thus, have been at all the wilderness camps and surely enjoy them all. The shops at the main camps offered actually more than we were expecting, like OTC medicines, tea, coffee, water and other drinks, biscuits and even some frozen meat (at Twee Rivieren they even had ice cream!).
Augrabies is more family friendly and thus less wild but with impressive landscapes.
This trip was another great experience in Africa and, as always and once again, expertly arranged by Expert Africa.
Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:
None we can think off."
Twee Rivieren Rest Camp
"Twee Rivieren Rest Camp - a good start."
The rooms seemed clean, very well equipped and comfortable.
The restaurant was simple and the quality of food was average. Service was attentive.
Although they offered some activities (night/ late afternoon game drives), which by the way seemed popular, we did not hire those services."
Grootkolk Wilderness Camp
"Grootkolk - requires more than one night"
An early start is essential (as soon as the gates open) for game viewing, which is productive until 10-11 AM maximum. After that, the heat can be extreme and animals are all hiding in the shade. By experience it is worth arriving early at the destination camp and decide weather or not go for a afternoon drive in the vicinity of the camp.
During the drive itself we saw plenty of wildlife early in the morning. The waterholes North of Nossob apparently were more productive, specially, Cubit Quap (raptors) and Polentswa (raptors, and carnivores - Lion). The drive between Polentswa and Grootkolk, was rewarding . The amount of mice on the road, actively feeding on late afternoon, would predict the eventual sighting of Wild African Cat and Cape Fox which actually occurred. This, just by itself, was the highlight of our drive to Grootkolk.
Unfortunately, we arrived to late at Grootkolk, just in time to settle in our cabins and watch the sunset and listening to the profusion of barking geckos. The night itself was rich in sounds ( lion roar, Hyenas, jackals etc..).The Grootkolk Camp is well located next to a waterhole where some action apparently occurs. On the previous night to our visit (confirmed by a visitor we met at Twee Rivieren and by the guard himself) there were some lionesses and cubs playing around the camp and leopard on the waterhole. We could confirm the tracks left behind.
The cabins are well located with good views to the waterhole. They were clean, and all the appliances ( fridge, stove etc...) in good working condition. The guard was helpfull. We feel that a one night stay at this camp is too short. A minimum of two nights is required.
A final word for the Nossob camp. People at reception were helpful and efficient.The shop although simple and basic was efficiently supplied with the basic (water, bread, etc...)."
Gharagab Wilderness Camp
"Gharagab - Well Worth the visit"
The exit route although less extensive, is faster, but was a little bit more challenging due to some dune driving (3-4 dunes) especially the last ( aprox. 5Km before ending). The scenery was fantastic and the silence golden!
The camp itself is on a superb location with a waterhole just in front of the rooms. We were welcomed by a lion at the waterhole with its kill. He was sitting there for already 24-36hrs. During the night we could hear him roar and eventually moved through the camp. Once again the night was rich in sounds. Hyenas and Jackals were closely everywhere.
The cabins were very well designed and equipped as in Grootkolk. The guard was helpfull."
Bitterpan Wilderness Camp
"Bitterpan - unexpected 4W Driving !"
On the day out we took the easiest path out, i.e., through Moravet instead of going straight to Kalahari Tented Camp. This exit road is much shorter and easier to drive. The decision was worth. A couple exquisite Bat Eared Foxes were sighted near Moravet, and on the main road linking the two riverbeds, we saw for the first time a troop of Meerkats sunbathing at the early morning hours.
The camp itself is very well situated overlooking a pan. Activity around the waterhole is sparse (at least while we were there) with the occasional Oryx, Jackal, Ostrich and Steenbok.
The cabins are very well designed with the rooms separated from the private bathrooms which are located just next to the rooms. A communal kitchen serves the four cabins which allows people to sit around the communal dinning room/ fire and exchange experiences.The kitchen was as always well equipped.
The guard was friendly and helpful and even asked us to transport the laundry to Mata-Mata, on our way to Kalahari Tented Camp, which we did.
One night stay at Bitterpan may be sufficient to explore the Bitterpan 4WD trail."
Kalahari Tented Camp
"Kalahari TC - What a excellent base for Aoab"
The cabins at KTC were spacious, comfortable and very well equipped, overlooking the Aoab river bed. The nights however where much more calm in terms of wildlife activity. The occasional jackal could be heard and seen crossing the river bed in front.
The guards at KTC were informative, helpful and very attentive, checking us every single night. The shop at Mata-Mata (4Km) was very simple but with enough basic supplies ( water, bread, etc...)."
Urikaruus Wilderness Camp
"Urikaruus - an alternative to South Aoab"
The camp itself is very well located, with cabins overlooking a waterhole on the Aoab riverbed. Yellow mongoose was seen actively hunting.
The guard was helpful and attentive. The rooms were comfortable and clean, the kitchen very well equipped, and both with a nice balcony to the waterhole."
Kielie Krankie Wilderness Camp
"Kielie Krankie - Stunning location"
The camp is superbly located, the cabins are immaculate fitted and designed into the surroundings and extremely comfortable. A huge balcony overlooking the waterhole down the red sand dunes gave us a superb view. The landscape, the barking geckos and the jackals visiting the waterhole at dawn were magical.
This is a "serious" base for exploring the southern part of the park itself. The guard (we do not remember his name) was very friendly, helpful and attentive."
Augrabies Falls Restcamp
"Augrabies - The elusive Klipspringer!"
Times for game viewing should be increased i.e., opening earlier then 06:30 AM.One just starts to see game further into the Loops (Hartmanns´s and Quiver Loops) and those can only be reached at least one hour into the game drive. By that time the sun is already high up and probably not the best for spotting Klipspringers. The afternoon drive will have to be shorter - just 2-3 useful hours and by our experience, not to explore the loops. So we have decided to shorten the loop driving and explore the viewpoints driveways ( Echocorner, etc..). Finally when we were already coming back we were struck by luck! A pair of Klipspringers on watchdog function and an infant were sighted. What a gracious and beautiful animal.
The camp itself and the facilities offered are good. People at reception were efficient and informative. Shame they did not have available the official guide for the Park in english. We were informed that it was being reprinted and updated. The shop was well stoked. We did not use the restaurant.
The cottage we stayed in was clean, spacious and very well equipped."
"The Farmhouse - a good simple Hotel"
People at reception were always friendly and helpful, the rooms very spacious and the restaurant with very good food and a superb breakfast (especially for us, after 13 days cooking quite limitedly for ourselves at KTP and Augrabies)."
Wonderful 15 days safariing
Tanzania between 12 Oct 2009 and 27 Oct 2009
Unfortunately, we did see some pouching activity at Mikumi (was reported to the camp manager and Park Rangers) and we sincerely hope that was just for bush meat.
Thank you for another wonderful holiday."
"A good start..."
Activities were led by our Kerseley´s driver (Mr. Ezequiel), so we can not comment on activities led by the camp itself. The all-day drive, at this time of the year and with Mikumi so dry is a bit disappointing, as it started a little late (8AM), and from 10-11 am onwards, animals are just away and resting. By the time it finished (4PM) animals were starting to come up again. We do not know about the camp activities but we think they should start very early in the morning (6am?), specially with these field conditions.
Nevertheless these are just recommendations and we really have enjoyed the experience."
Lake Manze Adventure Camp
Although they offer the chance of a very early morning drive, we were not able to do one on our three days there, mainly because other guests were not so kin in getting up early to see the wildlife! Probably they should reconsider how to offer early drives to guests.
Unfortunately we did not take the full day drive, because of our former experience at Mikumi, but by the reaction of other guests, and our posterior experiences at Selous and Ruaha, it is probably worthwhile to take it.
The boat drives (lake and channels) are indeed a "must to do", specially the afternoon drive.
Although the quality of food was very good, we think that they should offer more "africanized / traditional" biased menus, rather than Italian/ Continental."
Rufiji River Camp
"Excellent team -"
Although we know that the camp is being refurbished/ uplifted, they should consider having more related magazines / literature at the bar/lounge area for the guests to read. It was actually very poor."
Mdonya Old River Camp
Being on a Land Rover from 7 AM up to 5- 6 PM sometimes can be tiresome, but not at Mdonya. Thank you."
Southern Sun Dar
At reception, we asked for a Dar city Map , and unfortunately they could not find any."
Namibia between 24 Oct 2008 and 14 Nov 2008
Namibia has surpassed our best expectations in many ways. Once again its our trust that smaller camps are always preferable to large scale operations.
Wilderness Safaris have completely disappointed us as we were expecting a higher service level. Guests are treated as numbers and not as individuals. While perusing their operational brochures we became aprehensive of their magnitude and the size they have attained on these last 5 years of operation. I am afraid that they will loose all the African flair we "guests" look when going to Africa.
Their lodges are good but possibly due to immediate success they are relaxing on quality of service.
Thank you for a wonderfull experience/ holiday."
Arranged By Tracy Lederer
Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch
"One night stay - too short"
By staying two nights we surely could have taken more from the activities offered. It was a pitty not be able to see the Meerkats! Nevertheless the morning game drive was very rich and highy enjoyable. Pedro our homonymous guide was helpfull and tried to get us the elusive meerkats but unsuccessfully.
Overall : Bagatelle is highly recommended and is to be enjoyed for at least two nights."
"One night stopover."
During the day while driving down from Bagatelle, we visited Quiver Tree Forest, Giants Playground which are well worth a visit. Fish River on the way to Brukkaros was dry and no birds could be spoted."
"Good place to visit the Fish River Canyon"
We drove ourselves to the Canyon : fantastic scenery all the way. Pitty Ais-Ais was closed and we could not drive to the base of the Canyon."
Wolwedans Desert Lodge
The lodge and the people in it match perfecly in this stunning wonder. Our sincere appreciation to Mr. Vente Mendes (our guide), and all the professionals that made and make it special (Manfred, Simon, Strauss - the Cook....).
Special and simple details, like driving back to the lodge after a sundown drive, with the LandRover´s headlamps switched off so that one could appreciate the starbright sky and enjoy all the peacefulness was magical."
Kulala Desert Lodge
"Sossusvlei - The star"
The Camp itself is nicely located and perfectly fits into the surroundings.
Servicewise, although good, has lost the character of a small "private" camp, and one could sense some mass tourism. Sometimes people seemed fatigued of running the same activities everyday.
Balloning with Namib Sky Ballon Safaris (Eric) was enjoyable and very professional."
"Swakopmund - A city with character"
Very nice and spacious rooms, well cleaned and mantained, well allocated.The staff very helpfull and appreciated the complimentary car wash (twice!!).Although outside from the city centre, is just a five minute drive.
Excellent food (dinner and breakfast).
The Sandwich Harbour tour was a very enjoyable day tour, with Bruno , although we did not see almost any bird. Apparently they were all in the pans or anywhere else. Actually we could manage to spot a few hundreds of flamingos in Etosha Pan, next to Flamingo Island."
"The Desert adapted elephants"
The morning game drive was efficient and enjoyable. The Desert adapted elephants were the purpose of the drive."
Etendeka Mountain Camp
"Afterall Good things come simple and small"
Details are not forgotten, like pick up time at the Veterinary fence, so that while you are transfered to the Camp you are on the afternoon drive and enjoying it.
Fabulous activities and meals by the fire. Confortable and simple accomodation. A must."
"Too many tourists"
Okaukuejo is too busy with tourists. We have visited Namutoni which is nicer and much calmer."
"Small and less busy"
The staff at the restaurant is friendly but they don't keep it so clean ( we have seen food and drinks on the floor and they haven't cleaned it when remarked).
In fact we found Namibia the cleanest country we ever visited and this restaurant did not belong !"
The 320Km were easily and quietly driven on tar road from Hosea Kutako Int. We just reached the Waterberg Plateau National Park in time for lunch, which we took on the nice restaurant. The food and service was good.
After lunch we had time for a short walk (Mountain View?) which was fairly enjoyable. Nevertheless we trust that, at the entrance office they should have /sell a booklet on the wilderness trails/walks /activities in the park, so that visitors could extract more from their visit to the park. Although they offer morning and afternoon game drives, we did not hire those services.
The facilities /chalets were good.
At late afternoon /evening a couple of Steinbucks could be seen grazing on the vicinity of the chalets.
We have stayed only one night at WPNP, which proved insufficient to fully enjoy it.
On the following morning and after an excellent breakfast we re-fueled our vehicle at the filling station available and proceeded to our next destination."