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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Drs. R&C from Houston

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

3

Excursions taken

0

Our Jul 2021 Honeymoon Trip

Zambia between 1 Jul 2021 and 12 Jul 2021

Trip rating: Excellent
"The trip was amazing! Though it was initially an extension, this turned out to be the most magical portion of the trip. Everything from start to finish was executed perfectly, and Megan was so helpful when problems in our flight schedules would arise. We had so much anxiety about our trip not going as planned given the ongoing pandemic and the ever-changing rules, but our concerns were washed away with how carefully and thoroughly everything cared for on all levels at all times. On the ground, we were particularly impressed by Tours Africa's involvement in our ground transfers in Lusaka as well as our fly-in covid testing at LZNP."

Arranged By Megan Green


Waterberry Zambezi Lodge

Waterberry Zambezi Lodge

"Waterberry Zambezi Lodge review"

3 nights Arrived 1 Jul 2021
"We were picked up at the airport by Webby from Waterberry Lodge. The lodge is about a 45-minute drive both from the airport and Vic Falls. We were their only guests at the time given the ongoing covid pandemic affecting tourism. We felt very safe and they practiced good masking and social distancing.

We were upgraded to their River Farmhouse, which is a 5-bedroom private house located a couple hundred meters away from the main lodge. It has its own pool and view of the Zambezi River. We also had a dedicated butler/waiter and chef who were with us during the day. Meals were high quality and food was always fresh. We were absolutely spoiled.

We had 2 activities per day at the lodge. Other than visiting the falls on foot and taking a helicopter ride, we spent our time on the Upper Zambezi River. We went fishing and each of us caught our own tigerfish! It was also a good way to get accustomed to the southern Africa wildlife, particularly birds, as directly opposite the lodge was Zambezi National Park in Zimbabwe. Overall, this was a much needed retreat."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Chiawa Camp

Chiawa Camp

"Chiawa Camp review"

3 nights Arrived 4 Jul 2021
"We visited Chiawa as part of our honeymoon trip during July 2021. Our first three nights at Chiawa were luxurious. Throughout our stay, were continually treated with care by their team. We had so many special honeymoon meals – lunch on the river, private meals on their loft above the main area, private meal in our tent, bush dinner – during our three nights there, only one meal was actually held in the main, regular dining area! It felt like they were really caring for us and giving us the honeymoon 1-on-1 time we needed.

Staff had excellent adherence to masking and social distancing, and most if not all staff by the time of our visit had at least one dose of a covid vaccine. I'm not sure exactly which one they received, though.

We stayed at tent 8, and it was beautiful. The wall looking out to the river is replaced by a giant black screen and allows for the magical sights and sounds of the bush to really come through.

The landscape and wildlife via game drives at Chiawa was remarkable. Our guide was Boaz, a longtime veteran. He had a great sense tracking animals and was very easygoing. We had excellent sightings of leopards both at night and at day. The leopards there are particularly comfortable around safari vehicles. Boaz was so good at following them and anticipating their direction when the leopards would disappear into the bush. We were also lucky to see lion cubs. While there is a general diversity of landscapes throughout our game drives, most of the area immediately surrounding camp is dense with bushes and thickets. While beautiful, it was sometimes a little nervewracking when we would run into a breeding herd of elephants head to/from the river during a game drive.

In addition to the drives, we also did a canoe and a walking safari. We really enjoyed the canoe as it was mostly tranquil and an easygoing way of appreciating the banks of the park from the water, but had a brief moment of terror when we got too close to one of the hippos. Thankfully, our guides were experienced with this and handled it with poise, scaring the hippo away with the boom of the paddle against the water. Walking safari was very educational but in the area chosen there was a lot of bush and thickets. Still the guide and armed ranger were excellent at avoiding any dangers, in particular the elephant breeding herds we encountered.

In this area of the park during this pandemic, the amount of vehicle traffic was low. Many of the vehicles we saw came from outside the park. The lion cubs generated the most amount of vehicles at a sighting, routinely 2-3 but on one occasion up to 5. Almost all other sightings we had exclusively to ourselves.

The camp was operating at about half capacity – 4 or 5 tents occupied - when we were there. Hopefully the pandemic will improve in their country and that their traffic increases, they deserve it."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Old Mondoro Bushcamp

Old Mondoro Bushcamp

"Old Mondoro Bushcamp review"

4 nights Arrived 7 Jul 2021
"Stayed at OM as part of our honeymoon trip in July 2021. It was our last stop and was the best camp we went to our whole trip!

We were transferred to OM by boat. It took between 1-2 hours from Chiawa Camp to get there. Immediately upon arrival, the camp was full of tranquil bull elephants who were eating around the winterthorn trees. The main area was a minimalistically beautiful roofed deck. We were briefed and then shown to our tent. We were in tent #3, which is a tent overlooking a small lagoon feeding into the Zambezi. The tent was so close to the bank you could have jumped into the lagoon from our deck! It was magnificently beautiful and we had great views of animals drinking along the bank and crossing it. There were some afternoons where we couldn’t take a nap because of all the action going on! One afternoon, it was surrounded by a herd of elephants in and around the lagoon, with a mom and baby crossing the lagoon right next to us! Another afternoon we saw the drama of a buffalo drinking and almost getting caught by a crocodile. The walls of our tent/chalet were made of 2 layers of reeds/small rods of wood lined interiorly with insect netting. The windows have relaxed coverings that it impossible to keep bugs out. This, however, made the place feel like the extension of a game drive and kept us in tune with the outdoors. At night, because we were so close to the lagoon, the sound of the frogs, insects, and hippos were at times deafening! I don’t mean that in a bad way because I loved it.

Staff were all excellent in adherence to covid protocols of masking and social distancing. Our temperatures were checked daily. All of the staff had at lease one dose of the covid vaccine.

Food was fresh, delicious, and generous.

The wildlife, exclusive feel, and landscapes were what stole the show, however. This place is in the best section of the park. The camp is in an area that was previously a flood plain prior to the dam. As a result, it’s a flat plain where winterthorns now grow in abundance. In the surrounding areas it felt so open as well. It lended itself well to looking for wildlife. On top of that, there aren’t many other camps in the area. The only vehicles we would run into were other OM cars at some sightings and maybe one other inside-the-camp car. Most game drives we were the only car around and my wife and I had sightings all to ourselves!

The predator density was AMAZING. Our guide during our OM stay was James and our spotter during the night drives was Tryford. They were a legendary combo. They were so skilled at finding anything, in particular lions and leopards. James would track their footprints, localize alarm calls, and read the body language of prey and vultures so well that he would seemingly find them at will! Leopard sleeping on a tree, leopard dragging an impala kill and eating it at night, leopard patrolling - all wonderful sightings. We had so many leopard sightings we had an equal number of sightings of leopards as we did lions! And we spent so much more time and were so close to the leopards compared to the lions. The only thing we couldn’t find that was reportedly in the area were leopard cubs.

In addition, the wild dog sightings in the area currently is fabulous. The guides are thinking that they may be denning just north of the Jeki airstrip and that 2 females are actually pregnant. We were told the pack numbered in the 20’s. When we were there we saw 17-19 of them. We saw them greet each other, which was so cool. After we had seen them for the first time one morning we headed back to that area in the afternoon and they were sleeping smack dab on the main road. We were with them and one other car for a good hour with no other cars coming by. We also followed them as they woke up to hunt. The morning of our covid test at the airstrip we even had the chance to witness them chase and kill and impala from start to finish. We were the only ones around to see this!

In addition to predators, James was exceptional at birds, and we learned so much about them and started actually becoming decent at identifying the more common kinds. We loved our walking safari with him as well. They weren’t offering canoe at this time due to water levels. We didn’t do any boating because the game drives were so good we wanted to keep being on land!

Our exit RT-PCR covid test was arranged to be done at the Jeki airstrip via a fly-in nurse. A representative from Tours Africa, who we were also working with and was handling this process, was also present at the airstrip to ensure everything was going smoothly. We were tested at 10am on a Saturday, the day prior to our Sunday 3:45pm international departure from KKIA for home. When we arrived at KKIA from LZNP, we were met by Tours Africa with a paper result in hand!

Of all the places that we stayed, this place is the one we will happily return to!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

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