Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs L from Hinckley
Total number of trips
Lodges stayed in
My Jun 2022 trip
Kenya between 3 Jun 2022 and 18 Jun 2022
All niggles were quickly forgotten about once we arrived in Kenya and we didn't encounter any further problems/issues. All of the arrangements went perfectly and it was just so nice to get away and enjoy a marvellous holiday.
So, many thanks to Richard Trillo and the team at Expert Africa and all the people in Kenya "on the ground" (or even in the air!)"
"Very enjoyable but some negatives "
Unfortunately, the codes for unlocking safes are kept in the Nairobi office and the person responsible could not be reached. The manager offered to keep these guests’ valuables in the office safe but they decided to simply keep the items with them. He went on to say they take all guest feedback very seriously and they have taken steps to ensure this problem does not arise again.
Little Governors' Camp
"Another return to Little Governors"
There was a good choice on the menu at lunch and dinner. The food was well prepared and very good quality. We very much enjoyed all of our meals. We took breakfast out with us in the morning so that we could have extended game drives and only ate breakfast in camp on the last day. Both types of breakfast were very good. We had excellent service at mealtimes.
Our driver/guide was Oliver and we were very lucky to have the vehicle to ourselves for the whole time. Our first two game drive were in the Musiara area. The driving conditions in that section were very difficult due to recent rainfall. Our first pm drive was in good weather and very relaxed with a decent amount of game. The following morning was difficult for everyone... it rained most of the time and animals were hiding! The high grass made sighting even harder. Consequently we did our other game drives in the Mara Triangle. (The easy access to this is a big advantage of staying at Little Governors, as opposed to the other Governors Camps).
We had some good sightings and a couple of memorable 'road blocks'. The first was a male lion who decided that the road was a very warm and comfy place to lie down and have a nap! This happened just as we were going to head back to camp. There was no way round him so we, and several other vehicles simply had to wait for him to move. On another day a large tusker decided to monopolise the road in front of our vehicle. He seemed a bit grumpy so Oliver gave him space and we followed slowly at a distance. He eventually moved off into the grass. (One disadvantage of the Mara Triangle is that there is no off road driving allowed).
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Little Governors. However it is the first time that we have stayed there and not seen any cheetah."
"A great place to stay"
Meals at Kicheche Mara were very good and we enjoyed the food. Lunch was served outside and we sat with other people. However the communal dining for the evening meals was suspended and we had individual tables. Andrew explained that the reason was that some people were still uncomfortable being in close contact with others indoors.
Our driver/guide was George and we were again fortunate to have the vehicle to ourselves for the whole of the time we were there. George was an excellent guide. We saw lots of wildlife including excellent leopard, lion and elephant sightings. The cheetahs were elusive and had not been seen by anyone for a few days. George excelled at getting us into really good positions for photography. He was obviously a keen photographer himself and on occasions I was happy to let him take over my camera and take some photos for me!
We were in an electric vehicle for most drives and drove over some incredibly rough terrain. Using EVs is an interesting innovation, although as the animals are not yet used to the different engine sounds, some of them are more wary than they are of the diesels. We did have to return early from one drive as the vehicle was running low on charge due to driving over the rugged terrain. It was actually quite nice to have a bit longer in camp that day as the game drives are usually long: 5-6 hrs in the morning, (taking breakfast out with us), +3hrs in the evening - all very worthwhile.
On our last morning we managed a game drive with breakfast before flying out of Mara North."
Water Lovers Beach Resort
"Ideal for rest and relaxation"
Our upper floor room was lovely. Spacious, very good bathroom and an excellent balcony overlooking the beach/sea. The room had a/c and a fan - at night the fan was perfect for keeping the room comfortable. (Fans can sometimes be noisy but this one could barely be heard). The bed was fine for lovers of firm mattresses.
Food at the resort was excellent and we thoroughly enjoyed all of our meals. Waterlovers prides itself on serving freshly prepared food and therefore request that guests order dinner after breakfast - which wasn't a problem to do. At lunch time we ate off their extensive snack menu and accepted that there would be a 30mins+ wait after ordering.
All of the staff were very welcoming and friendly and it is a place that we would happily return to in the future.
Two minor issues: you are given your "extras" bill to sign at breakfast for the previous day. The first three days, our bill was wrong. This was easily sorted, but some people might have found it annoying. Secondly, we knew there would be a surcharge for paying the final bill by credit card. However, although everything is initially charged in Kenyan shillings, you can only pay in shillings with cash. Card transactions are converted to either Euros or Dollars, thus incurring more charges."
Victoria Falls, Hwange and Mana Pools
Zimbabwe between 13 Jun 2019 and 25 Jun 2019
"Ilala Lodge review"
Ra-Ikane River Cruise
"Ra-Ikane River Cruise review"
16 Jun 2019 • Morning excursion
"Camp Hwange review"
"Vundu Camp review"
Not so good points: one of the major reasons for choosing to visit Mana Pools was to see the wild dogs ... alas we didn't. We also didn't see any of the large cats or hyenas. We do appreciate that the wildlife cannot be "planned" - but it was nevertheless disappointing. Regarding the room: water is heated by an open fire under a boiler. This is efficient in producing hot water, but at times we were aware of smoke smells in the room and on returning home we noticed that all our clothes smelt of wood smoke ... even our bags had to washed. We have been in camps elsewhere with similar systems without problems. Perhaps Vundu should invest in solar panels?"
Kenya between 6 Dec 2017 and 18 Dec 2017
Loldia House is a good place to start, offering a beautiful house that is not difficult to get to from Nairobi.
The Mara was ... the Mara! Cats all over the place - we even saw leopard on four occasions - the weather was lovely during the day, with rain just on a couple of occasions late on.
The standards at Governors' were as high - in all aspects - as we have previously experienced and although not the cheapest place to stay, you do "get what you pay for". Note, if you want to get best value from them, opt to take breakfast with you on the early drive ... we were out for the best part of six hours each morning with another 3 - 31/2 hour pm drive.
The Serena group have consistently high standards for what they offer."
"Loldia House and Lake Nakuru N.P."
We were made very welcome on arrival - appreciating the snack we were offered to see us on to lunchtime. The location is lovely - on the fringes of Lake Naivasha - and the house has extensive (private) grounds with its own wildlife. Our semi-detached bungalow was spacious and well presented. In truth we didn't really need the hot water bottles and fire that were set for us at night, but no doubt there are cooler evenings and they were a nice touch. Staff were friendly, efficient and helpful throughout.
The day trip to Lake Nakuru N.P. was worth the journey - between two and a half and three hours each way - with good sightings of rhino and Rothchild's Giraffe and a real treat - tree climbing lions (mum and two cubs). Watching a White and a Black rhino having a pushing match was fun (and not seen before by us) There are not many flamingoes there nowadays, but we did see both Lesser and Greater along with many other species of water bird."
Governors' Il Moran Camp
"Governors' Il Moran Camp"
Patrick - camp manager - was welcoming, attentive, helpful, efficient .... everything that you would hope/expect.
One minor problem we had - the shower in our tent produced little more than a dribble of water initially. It took a couple of attempts for the staff to sort this, eventually replacing the head unit entirely."
Serena Beach Resort
"Serena Beach Hotel"
The sea-view room was comfortable and spacious, food consistently good - but, note that meals are buffet style unless you pay extra for the sea food speciality restaurant - and the staff friendly and (generally) efficient. There is a very good pool with one half deep enough to discourage non-swimming guests - it was never a problem to be able to have a swim.
We enjoyed a complimentary boat ride on a catamaran and were encouraged (nicely) to take part in petanque."
My Dec 2015 trip
Kenya between 3 Dec 2015 and 15 Dec 2015
All the arrangements worked efficiently and it was really good to experience the 3 contrasting areas. We also felt that by going in December we got particularly good value for money!"
Lewa Safari Camp
"Loved it at Lewa"
We had chosen the camp because we were keen to see Rhino and the Rhino viewing exceeded our expectations - we saw lots . In addition we saw lots of other game including cheetah, lion, elephant and 2 lovely ostrich families with lots of chicks. Our guide , Festus, was excellent at spotting widlife and he was also very personable, patient, knowledgeable and easy to understand. We were also fortunate to have Festus and the vehicle to ourselves.
In fact the camp was, as we expected, quiet due to the time of year and we only crossed paths with 2 other guests, one of whom was a travel agent."
"2 Enjoyable nights at Joy's"
There is an amazing amount of bird life in and around Joy's Camp and in 1 day we saw over 60 different species. Our guide, Mohammed was very quick to spot and identify the different species. We were right in our expectation of seeing less game than in Lewa but we did still enjoy sightings of; waterbuck, impala, grants gazelle, giraffe, warthog and a fleeting glimpse of a cheetah on a drive back to the camp after a sundowner. We also had a walking safari, accompanied by our guide and an armed Ranger. This lasted an hour or so and was in the very scenic Eyasso Nyeri river area. It was a nice change from being in the vehicle and breakfast by the river, in a beautiful spot was a treat.
We enjoyed our stay at Joy's and it was nice to experience the 2 different areas of Lewa and Shaba. Our only negative comment is that we both suffered from a lot of mosquito bites at Joy's, despite using nets sprays etc."
Little Governors' Camp
"Return to Little Governors"
We had the first couple of game drives on our own and then shared the vehicle and guide with another couple. We had some very good sightings of lion and cheetah and lots of other game and birds. This included; rhino, giraffe and some big herds of both buffalo and elephant.
It had bee very wet in the Mara and the tracks were very muddy and boggy but the driver and vehicle coped very well. While we were there more rain, (which only affected us on one game drive), caused the river to rise dramatically. Consequently we had to do some of our game drives in the Mara Triangle, rather than the Musiara Sector because of concerns about the safety of using the boat to cross the river when it was so high and fast flowing. We still had good bird and animal sightings on the 'Triangle' side but the disadvantage is that there is no 'off road' driving, so in some instances we couldn't get as close as we would have liked.
Little Governors was very quiet and we really enjoyed this return visit."
Zambia/Botswana June 2012
Botswana between 18 Jun 2012 and 30 Jun 2012
All the Kwando staff were excellent - we do not want to pick out any one of our guides, but must say that the personal service they gave, whether while on an activity or around camp, was exemplary. As intimated before, we would have enjoyed more sightings of cats in the first half of the trip, but our time at Kwara made up for this in many ways - overall, we had a "very satisfactory" safari, with a number of specific experiences/memories that will survive the years as highlights."
Arranged By Megan Green
"Waterberry Lodge review"
The impression given was that they would do their best to accommodate any requests. The trips we made - a sunset cruise, a whole day at Victoria Falls/Livingstone, a bird walk around the immediate locality and a visit to a nearby village - were all conducted as described and all were worthwhile. The atmosphere created on arrival was maintained throughout our stay - an excellent start to the holiday.
Finally - beware the pool, it is unheated and, in June, distinctly refreshing!"
Lodge not featured by Expert Africa
"Lagoon Camp review"
We did spend quite a lot of time "driving around in the dark" - here and perhaps more so at Lebala - not seeing very much other than moths, but I suppose this is the nature of safaris in general. We were luckier at Kwara and felt the length of time spent in the dark was better here (i.e. not so long!) Enjoyed the sunset cruise on the lagoon/river as an alternative to a drive.
Regarding food: dinners were very good - not fancy food as provided in some safari camps, but good honest fare. The idea of brunch worked well, but the execution wasn't always perfect in terms of how hot some of the dishes were kept - we hardly had a hot sausage all week! Quality and supply of drinks was very good. Particularly liked the afternoon savoury snack and homemade lemonade.
The lovely polished wood flooring around the camp was extremely slippery in some places - near the dining area, for example - perhaps a little less polishing would be safer.
The tents are nothing short of magnificent.
Some disappointment at not seeing any cats, but wonderful experience with the wild dogs."
"Lebala Camp review"
Particularly enjoyed the walk with our guide: the pace allows for a more detailed look at different aspects of the environment than can be considered when driving.
By transferring from Lagoon to Lebala via a game drive it did not feel like we were wasting time on mere "travel" - an unfortunate inevitability sometimes.
Still some disappointment regarding cat sightings - after 4 days of safari we had only had a very fleeting glimpse of a caracal disappearing into the distance."
"Little Kwara review"
Previous disappointments (cats) were quickly dispelled and we had a wonderful 4 days here with lovely sightings of lions seeming to pose especially for us and our final drive not only having cheetahs, but including them making a kill. The sight of the hyena carrying off the impala's intact stomach a little later will live long in the memory (I don't suppose the photos will win any prizes though!) Wild dog puppies came out to play - lucky to see this. Very much enjoyed the variety offered by the motor boat cruise and mokoro.
Staff at all the camps were very good - helpful, friendly ... but special mention should be made of Anderson for his bar hosting/waiting skills and Kassie for her unfailing cheerfulness/friendliness/ability to remember names."
Lodge not featured by Expert Africa
We enjoyed the breakfasts which had a good choice. Lunch and dinner were generally good. The menu was varied and interesting and portions were very generous. The mixed vegetables accompanying all the main dishes were usually the same and it would have been nice to have had some variety. Our table waiter was Josphant who did an excellent job of looking after us.
One highlight at camp was when the local tusker joined us for lunch ... we first had to move from our table and then enjoyed watching him go to sleep against a tree next to the dining veranda - he stayed about an hour.
Our driver/guide was James. We arrived on an earlier flight than expected and because the Kalama Airstrip was closed we had to land at Sasaab, which is much less convenient for accessing the camp. James was given very short notice of the change and did amazingly well to get to the airstrip to meet us off our flight. We enjoyed the time spent out with James. He had a lively personality and was interesting, knowledgeable and informative. Game viewing in Samburu is not easy at the moment because, due to the severe drought, there is a lot less wildlife about. However James worked hard and we had some very good sightings. This included 2 very good cheetah sightings when we witnessed a cheetah mum teaching her 3 cubs how to hunt. We did see quite a lot of elephants but only in small family groups, (around 6 max), rather than the large groups that we have seen on previous visits to Samburu.
Kalama Airstrip opened for our departure so we were all very pleased about that!"