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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Ms W & Ms B from Alaska

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

2

Lodges stayed in

9

Excursions taken

2

Overall trip review

Namibia and 1 other country between 26 Jun 2009 and 16 Jul 2009

Trip rating: Excellent
"We didn't know what to expect on our trip and what a wonderful experience we had. Maruska did a fantasic job creating an itinerary that matched our interests and our budget. We enjoyed all of our accommodations, tours, etc...throughout our trip. We had the added challenge of a nine hour time difference but this was never an issue.

Maruska always answered any questions we had with a very detailed email response and promptly called whenever we'd set up a time/day to talk by phone. We appreciated the detailed information and the inclusion of the Bradt Namibia guide. The Bradt Namibia guide we found to be even more helpful once we were on our trip, reading it regularly as we made our way from place to place. The descriptions and information was very helpful, the "notes for travelers" were extremely helpful as well.

We felt so well prepared for this trip from all the information Expert Africa provided us, there were no surprises and things unfolded seamlessly.

The reviews on your web site were helpful to us as it provided us with information, insight in regards to what we could expect. We like that they are unfiltered and when Expert Africa would comment/respond to a review that was less than favorable. We really hope our reviews will be helpful to other travelers and are sorry it has taken us so long.

The recommended length of stay was helpful and we felt accurate based on our experiences. The length of stay for most of the places we stayed was 2 nights and we wondered if that would feel too quick, however, we felt very satisfied as we went from place to place. We felt like we'd experienced the activities and seen as much as we could within out stay. While we enjoyed all of our accommodations if we were to highlight some it would be Onguma Tented Camp, Etendka Camp, Khwai Tented Camp, and Mapula Lodge. Onguma and Mapula were definitely luxury experiences were are not necessarily accustomed to, however, we enjoyed them completely - we appreciated the simplicity of Etendka and Khwai.

We are already planning on another visit to Southern Africa and we would readily work with Maruska and Expert Africa again!

Suggestions to help improve trips and service:

The only thing we might do different was a 2WD car with more clearance. Many of the roads we traveled on weren't much different than roads we drive in Alaska, however, in Alaska we have a 4WD vehicle with more clearance than what we had. So, driving on some of the roads in a 2WD vehicle was different for us. We understand that because of our trip budget we pretty much had to go with the car we had and things really did work out well. However, if someone can afford it we believe a 2 wheel drive vehicle is sufficient for the self-drive we did in Namibia but having one with more clearance than an economy sedan would be better."

Arranged By Maruska Adye-Rowe


Olive Grove

Olive Grove

"Olive Grove review"

1 night Arrived 26 Jun 2009
"We stayed at the Olive Grove on three different occasions during our trip. The staff was always friendly and helpful.

We appreciated the variety of resources that were available to purchase at the beginning of our trip. The pocket guides to mammals and birds in Southern Africa that we purchased there were appreciated and utilized throughout our trip. In addition, we appreciated the variety offered at the breakfast buffet and dinners were very good. We also appreciated being able to store a couple of small but bulky items between our trips here."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Okonjima Plains Camp

Okonjima Plains Camp

"Okonjima Main Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 27 Jun 2009
"We had a wonderful stay at Okonjima. While there we participated in the cheetah and leopard drives as well as the bushman walk.

We had a few different guides, and we especially enjoyed Rohan, Arnold, and Martin - they were all very knowledgeable and helped to make our experience a good one. The cheetah and leopard drives were really great, however, we highly recommend the bushmen walk to visitors as well.

While seeing the animals is cool, learning about the people and history of the area was nice."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Onguma Tented Camp

Onguma Tented Camp

"Onguma Tented Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 29 Jun 2009
"We were well taken care of at the Onguma Tented Camp, going on wonderful game drives and enjoying luxury accommodations. David and Sandra made sure everything went well for us throughout our stay. They went above and beyond assisting us with a flat tire. While the tire couldn't be fixed the mechanic repaired the rim and contacted a tire shop in Tsumeb for us which we visited after we left to pick up a new tire.

Moses was a very knowledgeable guide and gave additional information about animal behavior which we appreciated. The kitchen staff did a wonderful job accommodating our vegetarian meal request. All the food was excellent and the presentation of the food made for outstanding dining experiences. When not on game drives we enjoyed the accommodations completely.

The setting for Onguma Tented Camp was extremely relaxing and the addition of the waterhole was neat. There is nothing like returning from a game drive to find zebra, gemsbok, etc...hanging out at the waterhole right outside the tent! Last but not least - Marcus and Thomas were GREAT as well and we'll always remember their fantastic smiles!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Okaukuejo Camp

Okaukuejo Camp

"Okaukuejo Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 1 Jul 2009
"Okaukuejo Camp was comfortable, clean, and nice. While at Okaukuejo we appreciated the opportunity to be self-sufficient while having access to nice facilities. We very much enjoyed the buffet style dinners, the food was well prepared considering it was produced for a large number of visitors at one time. We made it a point to arrive early for dinner, as recommended in our guide book, which proved beneficial as there was always plenty of food available.

The only blemish in regards to our service was at the lunch kiosk on 02 July. The wait at the kiosk window to place the order took close to 30 minutes, then there was the additional time it took to actually get our food. This lack of service we attribute to lack of staffing versus effort, the woman working was doing the best she could but definitely needed more assistance to handle the volume of customers. Not sure if this was a regular occurrence but felt it was worth noting because it was very different from our experience dining in the evening.

We didn't take advantage of any of the offered activities, however, we took full advantage of the waterhole which we consider a "must-see" sight at the camp. That alone is worth the visit. We had the pleasure of seeing rhino (white and black), elephant, giraffe, spotted hyena, lioness, zebra, jackal and more. It was as if a nature show was unfolding before us each night with one type of mammal after another arriving at the hole."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Average
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Etendeka Mountain Camp

Etendeka Mountain Camp

"Etendeka Mountain Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 3 Jul 2009
"Everything about Etendeka was wonderful. Etendeka offers what we would consider simple, yet luxurious accommodations and great service. The food was absolutely outstanding and they were so kind as to pack a lunch for us on our last day to have on our drive as we made it to our next destination.

While we had many good guides on our trip Bownie was definitely one of the best. His knowledge of the area was truly exceptional providing us information on the history of the area, flora/fauna, mammals, and birds. What we appreciated was that it wasn't just about identifying something so it could be checked off a list but information was received that helped us learn about the habitat and how things worked within it.

The owners, Dennis and Claire, augmented our experience with Bownie providing even more information. We very much enjoyed the family style dinners and appreciated the conversation that went along with them. While not put forth as a planned/scheduled activity, the time spent (an hour plus) being driven into the camp and out were bonus game drives.

A couple of highlights included a day hike with Bownie and an evening of constellation viewing with Dennis. We were provided with water and if we'd wanted a hiking pole for the excursion, part way through we stopped and had a small snack as well. The hike lasted approximately 4 hours and we enjoyed every moment of it. To be able to travel at a slower speed on foot, versus safari vehicle, and to stop to view animals, birds, learn about trees/plants, etc....felt like a gift.

On our second night Dennis treated us to some viewing of the constellations. Neither one of us was well versed in the constellations and it was very cool to see the rings of Saturn and the constellations of Leo, Scorpio, Southern Cross, Pointer, False Cross, and the Big Dipper (a different view than what we see in our northern sky at our home in Alaska). Throughout the rest of our trip each evening we'd orient ourselves by finding the Southern Cross and Pointer."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Mowani Mountain Camp

Mowani Mountain Camp

"Mowani Mountain Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 5 Jul 2009
"What first struck us about Mowani is how the facility was built so that it blends into the environment, complementing the beauty of the landscape that surrounds it.

The highlight of our stay was most certainly the desert adapted elephant tour. Our guide Stuart, while relatively new to being a guide, did a nice job locating the elephants and providing us plenty of viewing time. He also made it a point to share information with us about plants, etc...

We also participated in the Twyfelfontein tour that included stops at the Organ Pipes and Burnt Mountain. While these are easily accessible by your own vehicle we recommend the tour if you want a little more information and don't care to make the drive on your own. On the camp grounds there was a nice self-guided trail, it was well marked and had an information sheet with points of interested to stop and look at along the way. It took approximately one hour and was a nice activity after our morning game drive.

While Mowani was one of the larger camps we stayed at and it was full when we were there, we felt like we were well taken care of and looked after. Being vegetarian they had prepared sundowner snacks especially for us, which were wonderful. In addition, they fixed a slow leak on one of our tires.

Mowani hands down had the best "sundowner" viewpoint of any place we stayed. To add to our viewing pleasure great snacks and comfortable seating was provided."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Cornerstone Guesthouse

Cornerstone Guesthouse

"Cornerstone Guesthouse review"

2 nights Arrived 7 Jul 2009
"The Cornerstone Guesthouse provides everything one would want in a bed and breakfast. The facilities were new, clean, nice, secure, all rooms have a private entrance, there was access to local tour information, a wonderful breakfast, and a host that was familiar with the area and willing to assist us with our activities. The breakfast truly offered something for just about everyone! We also enjoyed the well cared for courtyard and grounds as a place to sit and relax.

The Cornerstone is well within walking distance of downtown Swakopmund making things readily accessible. Margo was helpful in making phone calls to one of our tour providers, making recommendations for dining, and potential attractions to see. We very much enjoyed our stay there.

Expert Africa also organised a day trip to Sandwich Harbour for these travellers. They commented:

"Our guide for this trip was Ernest and he was GREAT! He was very familiar with the birds of the area and was quick to point them out. He proofed to be a very skilled driver as he navigated the dunes, etc....We enjoyed a nice amount of time in the Sandwich Harbour area. This tour was a wonderful way to get out and experience the dunes and birds of the area during our short stay. Ernest was also very good about providing history on the local area and information about the ecology of the area.""
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Coast and Sandwich Harbour

Coast and Sandwich Harbour

"Turnstone Tours review"

8 Jul 2009 • All-day excursion

Our guide for this trip was Ernest and he was GREAT! He was very familiar with the birds of the area and was quick to point them out. He proofed to be a very skilled driver as he navigated the dunes, etc....We enjoyed a nice amount of time in the Sandwich Harbour area. This tour was a wonderful way to get out and experience the dunes and birds of the area during our short stay. Ernest was also very good about providing history on the local area and information about the ecology of the area.
Excellent
Kayaking with seals

Kayaking with seals

"Kayaking to Pelican Point review"

9 Jul 2009 • Morning excursion

We chose not to go on our tour of Pelican Point because felt like our time in Swapkomund was too scheduled and we needed a break. If we'd gone on the tour in the morning, as we'd planned, we felt we might not make it back in time to make our drive to Windhoek in a relaxed manner.
Average
Khwai Tented Camp

Khwai Tented Camp

"Khwai Tented Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 10 Jul 2009
"The Kwhai Tented Camp set itself apart from any other place we stayed when we were greeted by the staff doing a song and dance upon our arrival. We were told by Shaka that we would be spoiled during our stay at Khwai Tented Camp and we were. The accommodations struck a great balance between rustic and luxurious. The fact that there is no running water or electricity didn't distract from anything, in fact it added to it. Plenty of gas lamps and hand-powered torches were provided for lighting. Canvas basins were filled with warm water so that we could freshen up before our morning game drives, we had water for drinking and basic needs readily available within our tent. Upon our request the "bucket" for our bucket shower was promptly filled with warm water that made for a great outdoor shower that seemed to last forever! In addition, our game drives often lasted longer than what was scheduled.

In the mornings we had a wonderful fire that warmed oats, which were a part of the breakfast buffet that was set up on a table. The food was of the highest quality and even more impressive when one takes into account it is prepared over an open fire.

Shaka was definitely one of the best guides we encountered on our trip. His knowledge and expertise of mammals, birds, etc...set him a part from others. While we saw many wonderful things (birds and mammals) a couple of highlights that stand out are locating a pride of four lions feasting on a buffalo and the tracking of a leopard. The tracking of the leopard was particularly impressive as it took about an hour of tracking before finding her. Once Shaka found her, we had the gift of about 25 or more minutes to watch a range of behaviors that ranged from stalking to sleeping.

Upon returning from each game drive we were greeted with song and dance and a warm/wet wash cloth to freshen up. Staff would also ask us how the drive was and were more than ready to hear our story of what happened. In addition to the areas in front of our tent , there is a nice lounging area for all people within the camp, complete with a hammock and several chairs and a couch. What also makes this camp unique is its close proximity to a local bushman village.

All meals were served family style and Shaka joined us for them. This was a great time to learn more from him about his experience in Botswana and the surrounding area."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Mapula Lodge

Mapula Lodge

"Mapula Lodge review"

3 nights Arrived 12 Jul 2009
"As we flew to the Mapula Lodge landing strip we could see what we thought were roads submerged in water and we soon learned they were. Our time at Mapula Lodge and the Okavango Delta was FANTASTIC. DoDo was a very gracious, interesting, and accommodating host. Matt and Mike were a wonderful team guiding and tracking animals as we'd seen no others do on our game drives. The Mapula Lodge served family style dinners and we loved the opportunity to talk with Matt and DoDo after a wonderful day.

Matt was quick to take an inventory of everything we'd seen so far on our trip upon picking us up and was quick to mention he'd do his best to find new things for us. He was true to his word as he and Mike were able to locate new species of mammals and birds we had not seen yet every day we were there.

While at Mapula we went on several game drives, a mokora boat excursion in the lagoon, and a guided walk. The variety of activities offered at Mapula was not matched by any other lodge we stayed at and we appreciated the different ways it allowed us to see the animals and environment.

As for highlights, while it is difficult to narrow things down, the African Wild Dogs of the area are worth noting. We visited the den of a pack of wild dogs that live in the area a few times. The first time we were treated to seeing puppies that were just over a week old, and some of the adults for a brief amount of time. The adult dogs took off on a hunt and the puppies retreated to the safety of the den.

On our last morning we visited once again, the pack was still out on their hunt from the afternoon/evening before and we decided to leave the den area. As we continued our drive Mike gave one of his trademark hand signals, motioning Matt to stop and go to the right. We were treated to a sighting of the pack returning to the den after the hunt. After taking in the great views there we headed back to the den to see what we'd find. We were treated to a good 30 minutes of watching the puppies interact with the adult members of the pack. It was definitely the experience of a lifetime and memorable.

The facilities of Mapula Lodge were of the highest standard and very spacious. Our room over looked the lagoon that is home to a family of hippos, during our afternoon siesta we enjoyed viewing elephants from a far or birds up close on nearby trees as we relaxed on our porch. We also appreciated the variety and large quantity of handcrafted baskets made by staff members that were available for sale.

Of all the places we stayed at in Namibia and Botswana, the Mapula Lodge is the one place we hope to return to. While we were very satisfied with our 3 night stay, Mapula Lodge and the area, as well as the delightful and friendly staff, definitely touched us, we could've easily stayed there for a few more days."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

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