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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs D. from New York

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

2

Lodges stayed in

6

Excursions taken

4

Once-in-a-lifetime experience! (October 2021)

Rwanda and 1 other country between 17 Oct 2021 and 30 Oct 2021

Trip rating: Excellent
"The Africa trip made possible by Expert Africa is one we'll remember for the rest of our lives and will be one we'll be talking to friends and family about for years to come. It was a phenomenal trip to say the least.

We spent time with golden monkeys and gorillas where we even got shoved and kicked by the latter which makes for a great story. We witnessed not one but two epic wildebeest river crossings in the Serengeti. We saw all of the big 5 and then some. The staff and service at all the lodges and camps were first-rate. Our guides did a fantastic job of taking care of us and educating us about Rwandan and Tanzanian history, culture, and and wildlife. We must give a special shoutout to Nomad Tanzania though. Their camps were so well-run and well-maintained and we can't stop raving about the food they served.

Expert Africa and Jessica Plumb put together an amazing itinerary for us and the staff was very helpful before and throughout the journey. Our flight out of New York was delayed, causing us to miss our connection and resulted in us having to spend a night in Amsterdam and miss out on our first night in Africa but Jessica and team worked their magic so that we just about kept to our original itinerary and didn't skip a beat. We thought we would have had to miss out on golden monkey trekking but they were able to adjust our itinerary so we were still able to do it.

We also had a scare regarding Tanzanian visas since we didn't apply for them beforehand (we would recommend getting them before your trip if you can!) and thought we wouldn't be able to get them at Kogatende Airstrip. A frantic email to Jessica's team was responded to quickly to reassure us that we'll be OK, putting our minds at ease. Overall, we felt very well taken care of from the time we landed at our first port of entry to Africa in Kigali to the point where we were dropped off at Kilimanjaro Airport to make our way home. Upon arrival in Africa, just about everything was seamless in getting us from place to place, getting COVID tests, etc. so it was nice to not have much to worry about.

And never once did we feel uncomfortable or unsafe due to any reason, including COVID, during our trip.

Though this trip felt like it was once-in-a-lifetime, we do hope that we get the opportunity to go on another trip just like this. When we do, we know Expert Africa will be able to craft something magical. We can't wait :)"

Arranged By Jessica Plumb


Hotel des Mille Collines

Hotel des Mille Collines

"Hotel des Mille Collines review"

1 night Arrived 17 Oct 2021
"This was where we started our trip in Africa and our group had a fairly short stay at the historic Hotel des Mille Collines.

As other reviewers mentioned, the hotel is somewhat dated and could use some modern upgrades. It seemed like most other guests were here on business. We had two rooms for our group of four and there was a slight mix-up for the other two people in our group who requested a room with twin beds. Their first room was set up as a double, the second room was configured correctly but had a bag in it. Ultimately, they were put in one that was configured correctly but was no longer a garden view room as originally booked. This wasn't much of an issue though and the staff was accommodating.

Dinner at the pool bar/restaurant and the breakfast buffet were fairly average. Service overall was fantastic and all staff and most guests wore masks throughout the property."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Facilities
Average
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

"Mountain Gorilla View Lodge review"

3 nights Arrived 18 Oct 2021
"The Mountain Gorilla View Lodge served as our base for gorilla and golden monkey trekking. The drive from Kigali to the lodge was beautiful with all the hills, people, and livestock along the way. The lodge itself was rustic and comfortable. Rooms were large and had a fireplace that the staff would help start every evening. It was cold at night and into the early morning in mid-October but in addition to the fireplace, a small space heater and hot water bottles to heat up the bed were provided to keep us warm. The lighting in the bathroom was a bit eerie and could be improved. Our room ran out of hot water the first night but that was likely due to my wife taking a long hot shower :)

Dinners were served buffet-style and would always be a soup (which was fantastic, especially as the weather was cold), a grain, a meat, vegetables and dessert. Chef Alfred would also be manning a table where he would cook up some stir-fry on the spot. Food overall was average and nothing to write home about. Towards the end of each night, Alfred would entertain us by singing some African songs which was a great way to end the meal. For lunch, a good array of options were provided for us to order from and we felt that the non-buffet style was slightly more to our liking.

Every evening, a local dance troupe comes by for some pre-dinner entertainment and we got to experience it our second night. It got our group dancing a bit and we all had a good time.

For gorilla trekking, the lodge rents out gloves and gaiters. The gaiters ($5/day) are a must for trekking and it'll protect your clothes and shoes from the mud and prevents safari ants from getting into your clothes. We didn't rent gloves and were OK without them. When we got back from trekking, the staff provide complimentary boot cleaning and they do a phenomenal job. Our muddy boots would always come back looking like new--we don't know how they do it! Complimentary foot massages are also provided if you want them upon returning from trekking.

There is a small gift shop at the lodge but prices are somewhat higher than outside the lodge--a premium for extra convenience I suppose. Wi-Fi, albeit not the fastest and a bit spotty, is available in the main lodge. All of the staff was very kind and service was good. One thing we noticed was that the staff did not wear masks here though. Our group wasn't bothered by this but others may be. Overall, we had a pleasant stay at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge and would happily stay here again."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Facilities
Good
Golden Monkey Trekking

Golden Monkey Trekking

"Golden Monkey Trekking review"

19 Oct 2021 • Morning excursion

Golden monkey trekking was a great experience!

All groups meet at the Volcanoes National Park headquarters where you're assigned a group and guide in the morning. You then drive to the park entrance for golden monkeys, receive a walking stick (highly recommended), hire a porter ($10+tip, optional), and are well on your way to find the monkeys. Our group of four was in a group with a couple and the it took us about 1.5 hours to reach the area where our golden monkey family was.

We learned a lot about the land, some plants, and the people during our trek as you pass by villages and farms on the way. Once we got to the monkeys, we spent an hour with them. There were so many and they ranged in age and size. The monkeys get fairly close so there are good opportunities to get amazing photos. Note that the trails in the forest were really muddy so be prepared for that. We were also rained on towards the end of our hour with the monkeys but that didn't really dampen our moods--we were already expecting it.

Definitely an experience we recommend!
Excellent
Gorilla Trekking Safari

Gorilla Trekking Safari

"Gorilla Trekking Safari review"

20 Oct 2021 • Morning excursion

Gorilla trekking felt like a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

All groups meet at the Volcanoes National Park headquarters where you're assigned a group and guide in the morning. You then drive to a starting point depending on where the gorilla family you're assigned to is. You receive a walking stick (highly recommended), hire a porter ($10+tip, optional), and are well on your way to find the gorillas. Our group of four got a private guide as no one else joined our group and we were assigned the Hirwa family, which meant lucky since the gorilla family had a set of twins.

It took us about 1.5 hours to reach the area where the gorillas were. Along the way, our guide, Jolie, taught us about the land, plants, and the people as you pass by villages and farms. The trek can get muddy so be prepared for that and gaiters are highly recommended. When we got to the area of the gorillas, our group was caught by surprise as the twin gorillas came rushing out of the bushes, playing with each other. A couple people in our group got pushed by the twins as they were playing so that gives you a sense of how close they can get. We also got to see the silverback male, the females, and a couple babies.

Overall, the trek was well-organized and fun. This was an amazing and unforgettable experience--one that we highly recommend.
Excellent
Hotel des Mille Collines

Hotel des Mille Collines

"Hotel des Mille Collines review"

1 night Arrived 21 Oct 2021
"We spent an additional night at the Hotel des Mille Collines after visiting Volcanoes National Park for gorilla and golden monkey trekking and before our flight to Tanzania the next day.

On this second visit, they got the rooms right the first time :)

Not much else to add beyond our original review though regarding service, rooms, or food."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Facilities
Average
Kigali Tour and Genocide Memorial Visit

Kigali Tour and Genocide Memorial Visit

"Kigali Tour and Genocide Memorial Visit review"

21 Oct 2021 • All-day excursion

Having only Hotel Rwanda as a reference point for information about the Rwandan genocide, this was an eye-opening and educational experience that was also a sobering one that should not be missed.

The audio guide and exhibits paint a different picture than what was dramatized in the movie and provides a lot more context and truths about what led to the tragedy and its aftermath. We thought it was very well-presented.

After the memorial, we had buffet lunch at the Serena Hotel in Kigali which was OK.
Nomad Serengeti Safari Camp

Nomad Serengeti Safari Camp

"Nomad Serengeti Safari Camp review"

3 nights Arrived 22 Oct 2021
"The Serengeti was our first stop in our trip to Tanzania's northern circuit. Our stay at the Nomad Serengeti Camp and experience in the Serengeti was the best part of our Africa trip. Our time there was nothing short of magical. We flew in from Kigali after seeing gorillas and golden monkeys and as we were making our descent onto the Kogatende Airstrip, we were in awe of the plains and herds of wildebeest that we could see from the air. Upon landing, we were met by our guide Mussa in an open-air safari vehicle and on the way to camp, we saw so many animals--so much so that we saw 4 of the big 5 on that first drive (only the elusive black rhino was missing!). Mussa said that was not normal and that we were very lucky. He joked that he wasn't sure what else he'll be able to show us during the next 2.5 days.

The camp itself was very well-maintained. We felt like we were in the middle of nowhere which added a lot of authenticity to the experience. We were warmly welcomed by the camp manager at the main mess where he explained how the camp works. We had the entire camp to ourselves up until the last day which made for a private getaway. The main area was a cool place to hang out at and also the only place where we could charge our electronics and have access to Wi-Fi (to think you have Wi-Fi in the middle of nowhere! It wasn't the fastest though but why do you need Wi-Fi anyway while out here anyway?).

The bar was always open and there was a wide selection of drinks and spirits. Meals were provided in the main area and were very gourmet. We were so impressed by the quality of the food given how remote the camp was. Dinner would always be a three-course affair. Breakfast would typically include eggs made to order if eaten at camp alongside fruits, granola, yogurt, toast, sausages and bacon. But if you're having a bush picnic, you'll get a breakfast sandwich instead of the eggs made to order. Lunch would be two courses and depending on your planned activities, would be eaten either at camp or while you're out on your game drive. Food was as much a highlight as seeing animals and was always delicious.

Our tents were spacious and comfortable. The bucket showers were nice, easy to operate, and always provided the right water temperature. We were nervous using them at first, fearing that we wouldn't have enough water but one bucket always sufficed for each person in our group (conservation!). We didn't have any issues with our eco-flush toilets and daily laundry was a great service (note that they will not wash lady undergarments but provide detergent to do it yourself in the sink in your tent). The beds were comfortable and hot water bottles in bed were provided in case you get too cold at night. Because you're out in a remote area of the Serengeti, animals can come through camp or come quite close to it at night. A herd of wildebeest was nearby on our first night which made for a noisy night so if you're a light sleeper, earplugs are highly recommended.

We started each morning very early with a wake up call from the staff where they bring coffee/tea/hot chocolate (whatever you decide the night before) to your tent. We'd leave camp by 6 AM to catch the diurnal animals and they start their day as well. We saw just about everything we wanted to see during our time in the Serengeti including two magnificent wildebeest river crossings, a foiled cheetah hunt, the aftermath of an elephant birth, two hyenas eating a wildebeest alive, and a black rhino and its calf. Mussa was very knowledgeable and experienced as a guide and we would often be the first to find something before he would radio it to others. Compared to the other guides we had during our whole trip, we thought Mussa was the best and he made our experience very memorable.

When we returned from our afternoon game drives each day, the staff would always prepare a fire prior to dinner which was a nice touch. We can't say enough good things about the staff and service in general. They were fantastic and made sure we were well taken care of throughout our stay. We loved our time here and miss it dearly. It's going to be hard to top the experience we had with Nomad in the Serengeti."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Entamanu Ngorongoro

Entamanu Ngorongoro

"Entamanu Ngorongoro review"

2 nights Arrived 25 Oct 2021
"Entamanu was a nice camp on the crater rim that was quite far from the entrance to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (about 1.5 hours from the gate, if I remember correctly). Similar to other Nomad camps, there are individual tents and a main tent area where you can relax, have a drink, and is also where meals are served. As with other Nomad camps, the staff, service, and food were top-notch. When we were there, our group was the only one at camp so we had it all to ourselves.

Because this is a permanent camp, showers were normal showers (not bucket) though regulating the water temperature was a bit of a challenge with them. The tents were spacious and comfortable and you can charge electronics from inside your own tent instead of the main area like at the Nomad Serengeti Safari Camp. It gets really windy at camp, especially at night, so it does get loud. Luckily, the camp provides some very effective earplugs that helped us sleep through the night. Hot water bottles were provided each night in case you get cold.

During our time there, we did a boma walk to a local Maasai village where we learned a lot about the Maasai and their culture. After the walk, the staff took us to an area to enjoy a beautiful sunset with drinks before dinner. We had a very sweet and kind guide during our time at Entamanu and Kuro named Rowland. He was very knowledgeable about all the wildlife in the two areas and had many jokes. Personality-wise, it was quite the contrast to our guide at the Serengeti Safari Camp where Mussa, our guide there, was more of a cowboy compared to Rowland who was more a stickler for rules :)

Standard Nomad wake-up calls are provided here which include some morning drinks at the time of your choosing. For the game drive, the descent road into the crater is close to camp, however, it was closed for construction when we were there. The ascent road was instead used for descents during the morning hours but that road was far from camp (~1 hour away). We definitely saw a lot more safari vehicles around when compared to the Serengeti but given the enclosed nature of the crater, I suppose that was to be expected.

This camp has a small gift shop where profits get donated to Nomad's projects. Prices are a bit higher than outside camp so if you're sensitive to that, I'd recommend making a stop in Arusha if possible at some point on your trip where you can get similar souvenirs for much cheaper (unless it's Nomad-branded gear you're after).

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Entamanu and it was a well-run camp."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Safari in Ngorongoro Crater

Safari in Ngorongoro Crater

"Safari in Ngorongoro Crater review"

26 Oct 2021 • All-day excursion

Our experience at the Ngorongoro Crater was great but different from that of the Serengeti which was where we came from before visiting the crater.

There were definitely more vehicles around and we generally couldn't get as close to animals as we did in the Serengeti. Binoculars are a must here. The ecosystem inside the crater was so unique and varied from open savannah, to forest, to lakes.

There's definitely a large concentration of wildlife here but the roads, vehicles, picnic areas (that even had Wi-Fi), and toilet facilities kind of took away from the experience of being in the wild. We felt that one day in the crater was the right amount of time there.
Kuro Tarangire

Kuro Tarangire

"Kuro Tarangire review"

3 nights Arrived 27 Oct 2021
"Kuro Tarangire was the last stop of our trip to Africa. We drove in from the Ngorongoro Crater which took about 4 hours. We stayed at two Nomad camps prior, the Serengeti Safari Camp and Entamanu and we knew we were going to be in good hands once we arrived at Kuro. We weren't disappointed. As with all Nomad properties, we were warmly welcomed by the camp manager and staff upon arrival where we were debriefed on how the camp works.

It was bucket showers here but 30L instead of 20L like in the Serengeti and you had both an indoor and outdoor shower option in your tent. The tents were very nice and provided great views where you can see animals coming by from time to time. Because it was so warm during our time there, the staff would leave the tents open (with netting, of course) so that we can experience nature throughout the night. Interestingly, Wi-Fi was available in your tent but not at the main area. There's one outlet to charge electronics in the tent as well but you're advised not to draw too much power from it as it'll trigger the circuit breaker, which we did a couple of times.

The staff, service, and food were excellent. Know that Nomad serves food on a schedule/rotation such that if you stay at their properties over a weeklong period, you won't be eating the same food twice. During our three nights there, we had meals in different spots in camp which was nice. We had dinner under the stars a couple of times too.

Compared to the other Nomad camps we stayed at, we definitely felt that more animals came by camp. Animals were abundant and elephants! Oh so many elephants. It was also amazing to see animals make the trek to the swamp area each morning for water. Tarangire is known for the large number of species of birds here and we encountered so many as well. Note that there were also more insects, including a lot more tsetse flies. Tsetse flies were more of a problem in the Tarangire than they were in the Serengeti or Ngorongoro Crater (we didn't encounter any at either).

We did a bush walk and night drive at Tarangire which were both cool experiences that we recommend. After spending so much time in a safari vehicle, the bush walk was a good change of pace and allowed us to see and experience things on foot that we couldn't have otherwise. Rowland, our guide, alongside a park ranger and a Kuro staff member who was also a Maasai, provided a lot of knowledge and insight during the walk that ended with a delicious bush breakfast. The night drive was also a unique experience where we got to see a couple of leopards by a zebra carcass that got chased away by hyenas who then were startled by a charging elephant. We saw some nocturnal animals that we wouldn't see during the day and a lot of stars.

Our stay at Kuro served as a nice ending to our trip to Africa and would happily recommend it to other travelers."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

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