Travel reviews by Dr G & Dr E from UK
Total number of trips
Lodges stayed in
My Sep 2022 trip
Kenya between 10 Sep 2022 and 25 Sep 2022
The people are so welcoming, polite and friendly. The camps were all very well run with excellent food and facilities. The internal flights were well organised and efficient, albeit with lots of stops!
As we do quite a lot of self-guided, self-drive safaris, it was nice to go to camps with an emphasis on photography, so that they would position the vehicle as we would if we were driving and in a few instances, suggest angles that we hadn't thought of."
Arranged By Richard Trillo
Four Points Nairobi Airport
"Four Points Nairobi Airport review"
"Tortilis Camp review"
The following morning we saw a cheetah - not seen here for over a month and a melanistic serval (again, our first) and to top it all off, a golden jackal (you guessed it, our first) on the last day. Although we were hoping for birds, we did not expect water and marshland birds and so the flamingos were a great surprise. Guiding was excellent.
The camp has a lovely position and the tents are well appointed, if a little too close together (canvas does not insulate sound). We did not test the pool as the water was really cold. The food was excellent - by far the best that we have ever had on safari. Others have commented on the larger size of the camp, but we received a personal service and it did not feel too large. In fact, one of the benefits of a larger camp was that you could have dinner when you wanted it, not at a set time.
Birding around camp was excellent."
"Elsa's Kopje review"
Again, the main focus of this part of our trip was birding and the specialised mammals, which we saw, but it was also lovely to see rhino somewhere other than in South Africa. The park is really beautiful and deserves more visitors. Drives were quieter here, but we expected that. However, our guide was very engaged and knowledgeable. This was the only camp where we had time for proper sundowners.
The camp is gorgeous. The rooms are amazing and make you feel that you are a part of the kopje, looking out over the plains. There are resident hyrax, which are very cute. There is a fabulous infinity pool on top of the kopje, which we planned to use, but never got around to (maybe to do with the long uphill walk to get there...). The food was excellent, but not quite on a par with Tortillis Camp. Meals were served to individual tables, which again meant that meal times were flexible."
"Kicheche Mara review"
Tents are well appointed and spaced. I have never been provided with wellington boots on safari before - they were used every night, along with the umbrella....
One of the reasons that I like safaris is that there is usually no internet or cell phone reception. However, every camp we went to in Kenya had wifi. So with that in mind, it was inconvenient, bordering on annoying, that this was only available in the communal areas, as we spent so little time in them! It meant that any internet activity had to be at lunch/pre-dinner time, which, when the meals are communal, was tricky. Now that they have three more tents, communal dining is an issue as there are really too many guests to sit at one table. The food was varied and good, but we had been spoilt by our previous two camps.
It was very clear that the ethos is for game viewing first and foremost, everything else fits around this. So sundowners were taken in the vehicle, rather than as the whole African experience, which I wholeheartedly agreed with. This was due to an excellent cheetah sighting on the first night, but the weather on the next two....
Game drives were action packed, as were the photographic opportunities. Lions were everywhere. We will return."
Safari in Maasai Mara National Reserve
"Safari in Maasai Mara National Reserve review"
19 Sep 2022 • All-day excursion
It was nice to see the open plains landscape, which should have been teeming with wildebeest, but not many had made the crossing, due to recent burns in the Serengeti and ongoing rains. A small herd gathered as if to cross and kept us occupied for a few hours in a game of "will they or won't they?" cross. A larger herd appeared, to get our hopes up, but they also changed their mind. We left to start the journey back to camp, probably a little earlier than planned, as there was a massive storm in Tanzania, which was coming our way. After having a very wet end to the game drive the previous evening, this was not something that we wished to repeat for a 3 hour drive and we managed to outrun it. So much so that we drove into sunshine and a lovely leopard sighting.
There were lots of vehicles waiting for a crossing, who were kept in check by the rangers. However, I'm not sure what would have happened should there actually have been a crossing. Whether we would have had any view of it would largely have been down to luck. I'm not sure that I would try again to witness this spectacle, given the sheer numbers of other vehicles. In fact, we cancelled our second trip as sightings in the conservancy were so good, we did not wish to miss out on them.
Kicheche Bush Camp
"Kicheche Bush Camp review"
More firsts here - our first serval, lioness moving small cubs to a new den, cheetah kill, leopard jumping up a tree (multiple times) and a jackal cub.
The nicest tented camp that we have ever stayed in. As the camp only has 6 tents, it was a more intimate experience where communal dining works well. The camp was well organised, with the exception of the wake up calls one day, which seemed to have been mixed up for everyone, leaving us in a huge rush.
The only issue we had was with our pairing with two other guests into "their" vehicle. The atmosphere was odd and the camp managers seemed to know that it would be an issue, so after the morning drive the following day, the other couple were moved into a different vehicle. Our guide relaxed and became much more personable after this.
We will definitely return, like most of their guests."
"Karen Gables review"
The gardens are basically part of the forest and had many birds, as well as monkeys. there was a pool, which again, we failed to use.
The food was excellent and the staff were very helpful and accommodating."
Full day excursion in Nairobi
"Full day excursion in Nairobi review"
24 Sep 2022 • All-day excursion
Despite this, we had a nice excursion into the park, largely directed by ourselves, as the guide seemed a little jaded and did not adjust his patter to us having informed him that we were seasoned safari hands. We stayed for about 6 hours and then went back to the hotel to rest and pack prior to our international flight home.
Unsurprisingly, he arrived 15 minutes early to take us to Nairobi airport and drove very fast and I considered dangerously to get us there. He provided no help with the luggage when we arrived.
Fabulous return to Zim
Zimbabwe between 2 Sep 2017 and 16 Sep 2017
Excellent game and bird viewing. Hospitable and professional camps. Would return in a heartbeat...."
"Amazing sightings at somalisa"
Our guide Lewis was excellent, very keen to find things and enthusiastic. When he told us that we would walk up to 4 young cheetah, I think that the honeymoon couple thought that they had misheard him!
A lion kill outside camp, failed lion stalks, eles galore and lots of birds to boot. A fabulous start to the trip."
Changa Safari Camp
"Luxury matusadona "
There was a film crew in camp for the start of the trip, which made things more interesting. A great stop for birders as the park offers lots of bird life, but also in camp, they have controllable sprinklers in your “garden” which attract all manner of birds, a great photographic experience.
The food was fabulous and the camp had a great atmosphere. The infinity pool overlooking the lake is lovely. Honourable mention for the lesser Bush babies who also call the lodge home."
"Fabulous spot on the river"
Kanga Bush Camp
"Peace and quiet in Mana pools"
Game viewing is entirely depend upon the time of year and for us the game drives were quiet, but plenty of game came to drink at the pan, including a leopard every night. Lots of birds in and around the area.
A relaxing end to the trip, made extra special by being given the honeymoon tent, which was fabulous, including an outdoor bath!"
fabulous return to zambia
Zambia between 6 Sep 2013 and 19 Sep 2013
Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:
better access to information regarding special offers"
Activities were very productive and the pontoon allows access to the park without using the main gate (although the water levels were so low - we drove across). Amazing leopard sightings. As the lodge was not full, we had several private game drives, which was a bonus."
"tena tena safari"
Camp host/management left a little to be desired though. There was a known problem with the hot water, which was not explained until we complained about it. They are apparently "waiting for parts". This means that there is an initial few minutes of hot water until the boiler overheats. It then has to be switched off for at least a minute, whereupon a further minute or so of hot water is available and the whole process has to be repeated - not very convenient.
Our room fan broke and not fixed. We lost some clothing in the laundry and were told it was not in camp and if it had been left at Nkwali, then it would have been forwarded. No further attempt was made to track it down. There was little atmosphere in camp, perhaps because the hostess was entertaining her brother."
Managed several private activities as camp was not full, which was an added bonus."
Chongwe River Camp
"chongwe river camp"
However, being on the river, the birds were prolific and the access to the river by boat made up for the afternoon drives. A lot of customers were there for the fishing and therefore I don't think the management are as wholly focussed on game viewing as those within the park. We had to ask to leave camp earlier in the mornings as we were missing the light because of this and somehow we ended up with a private vehicle from that point onwards - an excellent bonus.
We also did an all day drive, which meant we had both AM and PM activities. I think it is worth the extra money to stay at a lodge within the park, but we booked too late for this.
The albida suite was fabulous - I could get used to having a butler!"
first safari in Namibia
Namibia between 15 Sep 2012 and 30 Sep 2012
There were no issues driving ourselves around.
We would definitely recommend and will return."
Arranged By Sabina Hekandjo
Erongo Wilderness Lodge
"Erongo Wilderness Lodge review"
"long walks in the bush ;)"
Bruno is an extremely knowledgeable guide and we had a lovely 3 days here (even though the animals were all hiding!). Would defiinitely return, but maybe after some training or at the end of the trip when we had acclimatised to the heat"
Mushara Bush Camp
"Mushara Bush Camp review"
Service not quite what I would expect, but perhaps I am drawing unfair comparisons with South Africa"
"Halali Camp review"
The waterhole is much more intimate than Okaukuejo and less like a circus...
The scenery and waterholes around this camp are the best in the park (in our opinion)"
"Okaukuejo Camp review"
Lots of busy waterholes nearby
Restaurant insists on reservations for dinner which helped, but lunch service was very slow"
Etendeka Mountain Camp
"Etendeka Mountain Camp review"
Very cold on the second night - made the bucket showers interesting
The road there and in particular the Grootberg pass was very slippery - a bit scary when trying to make the 4pm deadline and it wasn't clear on the map that the last 121km is gravel...."
Okonjima Plains Camp
"Okonjima Main Camp review"
Wouldn't have wanted to stay more than one night
The most annoying part was that we were placed with others for dinner with no warning (and when there were tables for two). We expect this on safari, especially when groups will be sharing vehicles and need to get to know each other, but on our last night, we were looking for a bit of alone time and it would have been nice if someone had asked if we minded"
Trip to ZImbabwe
Zimbabwe between 4 Sep 2011 and 17 Sep 2011
The only noticable differences were in the food portion sizes (smaller) and the room laundry (bed linen and towels - less frequent). The guiding, especially in Mana Pools was excellent. It was a very long day to get there though and a bit depressing to fly over and then not to arrive for another 8 hours....
Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:
Perhaps more detailed information on the website to try and reduce the amount of time needed to be on the phone"
"Somalisa Camp review"
The camp manager/host (I'm not sure what her job title was as she didn't tell us) seemed more interested in entertaining/reminiscing with the (almost) resident wild dog researcher than her paying guests. She was certainly very responsive to demanding Americans, but for us laid back Brits, she did not do much. In fact, whilst broken in a Land Cruiser down at the side of the road, she continued transporting her guests back to camp, without so much as a hint of concern about our situation."
Musango Safari Camp
"Musango Safari Camp review"
Lovely game viewing by boat and land rover.
Nice to be by the water after dusty Hwange!"
"Vundu Camp review"
A very different safari experience with the guides also doing the hosting in camp, this enabled us to find out more about how the country is doing.
Also managed to get to Mana Pools just before it started getting really hot!"
"Ilala Lodge review"
Slightly shocked at the American food prices though..."
Tanzania between 25 Sep 2010 and 8 Oct 2010
There were no night drives in the Selous, contrary to what I was told.
There is apparently now an early morning flight to Dar from Selous which connects to the BA flight, obviating the need for an overnight stay in Sar.
Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:
More detailed brochure"
"Jongomero Camp review"
However, the remote location which is a plus point in terms of isolation from other visitors, meant the game drives were a bit repetitive and we did not get to see the plains (and their cheetahs). If we had realised this in advance, we would have booked two separate camps in Ruaha."
"Selous Impala Camp review"
I also got the impression that they were actively discouraging customers from going on game drives:
1) after our first full day we were asked what we wanted to do the next day (two game drives) to which the reply was "not a river cruise?"
2) when wanting to go out at 6.30am "not at 8am?"
3) and on our last day (short transfer to another camp) "would you like a lie-in, late breakfast and enjoy the use of the pool?". We had to argue for a game drive, which they then cut short by an hour - depositing us at our next camp an hour prior to what they had expected.
I do not pay the amount per night that these camps charge to be palmed off onto cheaper and easier activities. If I am staying 3 nights, I expect 6 game drives at my convenience.
The atmosphere was not as welcoming as the other camps.
According to the guide book, this camp is only fractionally cheaper than selous safari camp - if this is the case, then safari camp is infinitely better value for money"
In regards to the activities from Impala Camp, we apologise as we think there must have been a misunderstanding between these travellers and the camp team. These travellers were keen to do a lot of driving, and the Impala team had wanted to make sure that they knew about the other activities on offer such as walking and boat safaris – as most travellers enjoy the variation of having different activities. They had not intended it to appear as though they were discouraging them from drives.
It is of course up to the traveller to choose their activities here, and Impala Camp are more than happy to facilitate this. The camp’s team apologise profusely if this did not come across properly and will try and be much clearer in the future.
The travellers also compare Impala to Selous Safari Camp. The latter is a much more luxurious tented camp, but it is usually between £70 – 120 per person per night more costly than Impala Camp.
"Selous Safari Camp review"
Sea Cliff Hotel
"Sea Cliff Hotel review"
Despite catering for travellers to the airport, breakfast service only available from 6am which is too late for UK flights"
My Aug 2009 trip
Zambia between 31 Aug 2009 and 12 Sep 2009
"Kapani Lodge review"
would have been nice to have airconditioning in the vehicle which collected us from the airport"
"Nsolo Bushcamp review"
"Kakuli Bushcamp review"
Sausage Tree Camp
"Sausage Tree Camp review"
The breakfast buffet was extensive.
Just a shame that we could not experience the rooftop pool!"