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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Miss P from London

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

6

Countries visited

3

Lodges stayed in

27

Excursions taken

0

Tafika was the highlight

Zambia between 12 Jul 2018 and 29 Jul 2018

Trip rating: Good
"This trip was not quite as successful as previous trips to South Luangwa. The choice of camps was entirely mine and I take full responsibility for this.

In my own defence, there had been some surprise changes in camps I thought I knew and had visited previously - such as no communal dining at Kafunta and a management change at Lion Camp leading to the introduction of new dining arrangements and a new activity/meal schedule. This changed the whole experience of the camp, rather than just the cosmetic refurbishment I had been expecting.

A last minute switch to include Tafika in the itinerary really rescued the trip. Tafika is a class act. It's a comfortable, welcoming, characterful safari camp run by people who understand what's most important about the safari experience. It remains one of my favourite camps in Africa."

Arranged By Claire Scott


Pioneer Camp

Pioneer Camp

"Convenient stopover"

1 night Arrived 13 Jul 2018
"Convenient location for a one night stop over, with friendly staff and a great steak for dinner.

It was a pretty cold night and the chalets are not well insulated- hot water bottles would be much appreciated."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Kafunta River Lodge

Kafunta River Lodge

"Kafunta River Lodge review"

3 nights Arrived 14 Jul 2018
"This was a return visit to Kafunta after 10 years. They have done some refurbishment and the food is much improved (especially the amazing desserts). However, I was very disappointed to find they no longer have communal dining. For breakfast and lunch you are seated with your game viewing vehicle and your guide and dinners are completely separate and unhosted, unless you are alone when your guide will sit with you (or for one dinner I was seated with another solo guest).

For a couple of lunches due to new arrivals and departures I was the only guest present from my vehicle. I did manage to join another group for some meals but I ended up having several meals just seated with my guide. He was not very communicative and I ended up feeling I was hosting him rather than vice versa. Most of the hosting was done by the guides.

Really, I felt the management should put more effort into being involved in hosting rather than leaving it all to the guides. As a solo traveller, I felt like a spare part most of the time and I missed the fun, inclusive atmosphere of other camps.

I also had concerns about the guiding. My guide seemed overly reliant on radio communication to find sightings, his bird knowledge was sometimes questionable, but worst of all on two separate night drives he picked up a chameleon from a bush and brought it over for guests to touch. On one occasion he actually passed it to one of the guests (a 10 year old girl) and it promptly bit her and she tried to shake it off. This isn't the kind of responsible guiding I expect from a Luangwa guide, and on the second occasion I voiced my concerns. One of the managers had joined our game drive that night, and he said nothing."
Average
Location
Good
Service
Poor
Activities
Poor
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Three Rivers Camp

Three Rivers Camp

"Lovely camp"

4 nights Arrived 17 Jul 2018
"Three Rivers was a much more positive experience than Kafunta in terms of the camp and atmosphere. The manager TJ was engaging, enthusiastic and a great host, and the communal meals were much more enjoyable for a solo traveller.

The rooms at Three Rivers are lovely and the game/bird viewing from the camp was excellent.

I was aware in advance that game viewing in this area would be a bit challenging, as the bush is thick and the game skittish. So I had planned to mainly walk, but I did have to be quite insistent about this as my guide seemed reluctant to do afternoon walks. Despite me having made it very clear that I wanted to walk on every activity, nonetheless on the second afternoon it was announced we were driving, at the last minute. The newly arrived guests (who I had already met at Kafunta) said during the drive (which was uneventful and conducted in near silence by the guide) that they had been expecting to walk, so on our return I queried why we had gone on a drive and the guide tried to say it was because of the other guests, but in fact he hadn't even asked them what they wanted to do. They were just as disappointed as me to drive as they were only staying one night at Three Rivers. I insisted on walks for the remainder of my stay. On one morning we also had to drive over to join walkers from Island Bush Camp due to lack of available game scouts - but at least I got to walk, at one stage I thought I might not be able to (thanks to TJ for "making a plan").

On the walks, I very much enjoyed the birding, but game sightings were few."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Average
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Kafunta River Lodge

Kafunta River Lodge

"Return to Kafunta"

1 night Arrived 21 Jul 2018
"see previous comments"
Average
Lion Camp

Lion Camp

"Under new management"

2 nights Arrived 22 Jul 2018
"Lion Camp has reopened this year after an extensive refurbishment, but management has also been handed over to Mantis Resorts chain. I had been forewarned of some of the changes at Lion Camp and we had already cut short our stay to only 2 nights because of this, which I think was a good decision.

The new activity/meal schedule is not to my taste- coming back from the morning game drive at 9:30am for a 10am breakfast, then having lunch at 2:30pm, with standard afternoon game drive time being 4pm. Lunch has been moved even later from the 2pm it was in June, meaning the earliest you could realistically get out in the afternoon was 3:30pm, which we did just to scrape a little extra game viewing time, but it was still a rush. This schedule made for an incredibly long down time just sitting around camp. In contrast, at our next camp we were out at 6:15 every morning, and not back until 11:30 or 12 for lunch at 12:30, then out again at 3:30pm after tea at 3:15pm.

They have also abandoned communal dining in favour of separate tables for each game viewing vehicle (or completely separate for each party at dinner it seemed). Mixing with other guests is something I really enjoy at safari camps, and I much prefer the atmosphere at camps where dining is family style. I was with my parents for this part of the trip, but I certainly would not enjoy this new arrangement if travelling solo as I often do.

Lion Camp food was always exceptional, and with the extra training the chefs have had I was expecting to be blown away. In fact, the food was disappointing and not up to the standard of the old Lion Camp. Breakfast was simply cereals, toast, fruit, and one hot dish (no choice). Lunch had no choice either- on the first day there was one dish of lasagne and one bowl of green salad, followed by a dessert. This is compared to the old Lion Camp brunches which had a wide choice of different salads and meat/fish dishes. Dinners were OK but unimaginative compared to the previous Lion Camp menu which had the chefs making fresh pasta starters or interesting salads for starters. Tea no longer featured in the schedule- the old Lion Camp teas were also a well thought out and beautifully executed sweet and savoury option as well as a different home made cold drink (eg lemonade with ginger or rooibos iced tea with cranberry). Despite the attempts made to create an air of luxury in the rooms with fancy toiletries and bed linen, for me the new menu felt like cost cutting compared to the Lion Camp of old. In contrast, the wines were better quality than the old choices.

On the plus side, the rooms are a vast improvement on the old ones (good as you spend so much time in them), although they have some strange features such as precarious steps in odd places and a shower that automatically runs cold after about 5 mins- some sort of safety feature apparently, but I had to restart my shower twice during one shower. They also don't automatically roll the mesh front of the tents up during the day. One of the features of the rooms is the view, and as the decks are in full sun, it's not appealing to sit outside in the day. If the mesh is rolled up you can enjoy the view from the sofa in the shade, but this is fiddly to do yourself. I asked for this to be done in my room, which it was, but they should do this automatically in all the rooms (my parents had to try and do it themselves).

The main area has been opened out, but I personally found the new decor a bit bland compared to the old bright colour scheme.

Overall, the feel of the place is now more like a soulless luxury hotel in the bush. It lacks the warm, inclusive and sociable atmosphere of a safari camp. I can see that the owners are attempting to create a more upmarket camp, but it is possible to do this without losing the safari camp feel.

Sadly, I very much doubt I'll be returning to Lion Camp. The best thing about our stay was the excellent guiding by Meyam but even that is not enough to make me want to return. The game viewing in the area is superb, but there are other camps in the same area which I think will suit me better."
Average
Location
Excellent
Service
Poor
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Poor
Facilities
Good
Tafika

Tafika

"Nobody does it better"

4 nights Arrived 24 Jul 2018
"This was my fourth visit to Tafika (seventh to the Remote Africa group) and it was excellent as ever.

It was a last minute decision to switch to include Tafika in our trip, and so it was only possible for us to take the family chalet. We'd been a little sceptical about this but it turned out to be a perfect choice. The chalet has 2 separate showers and 2 toilets and a shared basin area, and it has a lovely position overlooking the river so it was nice to sit outside and chat in the afternoons and watch the hippos mating (yes, really!).

It was a shame to miss John and Carol, but Heather and Bryan were doing an excellent job in their absence. I love Tafika, it is still one of my favourite safari camps in Africa. Full of character and with a warm welcome and run by people who appreciate the important aspects of the safari experience. In a world where safari camps seem to be in a battle to "out lux" each other, resulting in an experience that is increasingly divorced from the natural environment, Tafika remains a beacon of authenticity. I wish there were more camps like it.

Game viewing was superb with some stand out leopard sightings, including a mother with 2-3 month old cub and the same mother chasing a younger female up a tree."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

Green Season Luangwa

Zambia between 23 Mar 2018 and 7 Apr 2018

Trip rating: Excellent
"This was my first visit to South Luangwa in the green season after many visits in the dry, and I didn't quite know what to expect from the game viewing. The cats were thin on the ground compared to dry season, but the superb wild dog sightings more than compensated for this. There was plenty of other game to be seen too, with just as many elephants, puku and impala as usual. Giraffe and kudu were far fewer than usual as apparently they don't like the boggy conditions so head for drier ground, although we were seeing more giraffe towards the end of the trip as conditions got drier.

The birding too was excellent, and interesting to see all the migrants and birds in their breeding plumage.

It was amazing to see the change in the landscape and this was most apparent from the trip up to Nsefu and travelling along the river by boat.

Robin Pope Safaris continue to impress with their levels of service with a very flexible approach to make sure every guest is happy. I was given a vehicle to myself most of the time and my guide was more than happy to be flexible about game drive timings."

Arranged By Claire Scott


Luangwa River Camp

Luangwa River Camp

"Luangwa River Camp"

5 nights Arrived 24 Mar 2018
"Lovely camp with a great view of the river. I prefer the more open rooms at Nkwali, although I could see the benefit of the Luangwa River Camp rooms if it was a time of year with high insect activity.

RPS were very sensitive to guests' needs and even when there were only 3 guests in camp, they sent out two vehicles as they realised we had slightly different priorities. This was much appreciated. My guide Yona was great and quickly picked up what I was interested in.

I was keen to look for wild dogs and we had great success. On three of the four full days I had here we were able to find the dogs in the morning and go back in the afternoon to watch them wake up and go hunting. The cat sightings at this time of year were definitely tricky compared to dry season. We had a great sighting of Ginger and Garlic's pride who had just killed a baby buffalo and the herd were trying to keep the lions away from the kill.

Walking options were very limited due to the boggy conditions underfoot. I was pleased I had the 3 days at Nsefu to walk, as there were not many suitable areas around Luangwa River Camp."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Nsefu

Nsefu

"Nsefu"

3 nights Arrived 29 Mar 2018
"It was really fascinating to see the change in this area, which I have visited many times in the dry season, compared to the wet season. A real highlight was a boat trip up the Mwamba river, but we also had great walks to the stork colony and Fish Eagle Lagoon.

The walking and boating is great for birding and taking in the scenery and enjoying being the only people in this area at this time of year. A unique experience."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Nkwali

Nkwali

"Nkwali"

5 nights Arrived 1 Apr 2018
"I love everything about Nkwali, it has become one of my favourite camps in South Luangwa. The rooms are lovely, with great views across the river. Kiki is a fantastic host and the team of guides there are really friendly. They had actually arranged for me to have the same guide, Yona, as at Luangwa River Camp which was great as he knew my interests and what birds I'd ticked off my list!

We went to a very interesting talk by the Carnivore researchers on one afternoon before the afternoon drive.

We continued to have great wild dog sightings, including one of a different pack to the one we had been seeing previously.

They dealt very well with a mixed group of guests with quite conflicting interests."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

Best Safari Ever in South Luangwa

Zambia between 22 Jul 2016 and 6 Aug 2016

Trip rating: Excellent
"This was my 30th trip to Africa and my best yet.

The game viewing was truly amazing, with wild dogs and leopard cubs being the highlights. We had some excellent guiding, and the camps were stunning and very varied in style.

South Luangwa is a little piece of paradise and I think still under rated as a safari destination."

Arranged By Claire Scott


Pioneer Camp

Pioneer Camp

"Great friendly stoppover"

1 night Arrived 23 Jul 2016
"It was great to see Paul again and meet Sophie, and hear about their latest ventures.

As ever, Pioneer is a friendly, relaxed and convenient stoppover, and it's nice to be in a more peaceful location than a city hotel."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Luwi Bushcamp

Luwi Bushcamp

"Beautiful Camp"

3 nights Arrived 24 Jul 2016
"The camp itself is lovely and remains one of my favourite in South Luangwa (this is a return visit - I was here in 2012). I particularly love the open fronted design and the huge outdoor bathrooms. It should be a wonderful bush experience.

However, something was amiss. The host was absent, and a young hostess from Chinzombo was there, but seemingly specifically to entertain one particular group of guests (including joining them on game drives). It wasn't clear what the relationship was, but it was very flirtatious and made me feel uncomfortable. Norman Carr seem very flexible and happy to have guests at Luwi who are not much interested, or not at all interested in walking. As I wanted to walk the whole time I did end up feeling somewhat out of place. Not due to the guide, Lawrence, who welcomed me as someone after his own heart. But somehow it felt like Luwi had lost its soul."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Average
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Nsolo Bushcamp

Nsolo Bushcamp

"Lovely Camp"

2 nights Arrived 27 Jul 2016
"This is a return visit (I was here in 2012). It remains a lovely camp, but as with Luwi I felt slightly uncomfortable here.

The other guests were lovely, but as a solo traveler, the hosting was lacklustre. Prince was a great guide, and we had some wonderful sightings. With regret, I feel I must mention the behaviour of the ZAWA scout and guide on the walk from Luwi to Nsolo. The scout was throwing things (clumps of earth I think) at a herd of buffalo to get them to move along."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Average
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Kakuli Bushcamp

Kakuli Bushcamp

"Friendly, efficient hosting"

2 nights Arrived 29 Jul 2016
"This was my first visit to Kakuli - it was the only NCS camp I did not visit in 2012. The hosting here was a vast improvement on Luwi and Nsolo, with Claire doing an excellent, friendly and very efficient job. I also loved the camp a lot more than I expected, especially the open fronted design of the rooms and the river view. Philemon was a great guide and the 14km walk with him from Nsolo to Kakuli was a highlight of my trip and perfectly paced. I had some super sightings here including lions on the "beach" taking down a baby puku.

The only downside to Kakuli was the same problem I experienced in 2012 at Mchenja and the reason I confined my visit this time mainly to the Norman Carr walking camps rather than the more driving based camps. For anyone remotely serious about photography, an early start to a game drive is crucial, and there is just too much faffing around over a fancy breakfast. On one morning it was 7am before we left!! This is compared to the Robin Pope camps and Lion Camp, where there is no mucking about, the guides are on the ball at getting everyone out in the vehicles promptly after a simple but adequate breakfast, and as early as possible.

Perhaps this is a Norman Carr business decision to pitch themselves at the more relaxed safari goer, but it doesn't suit me personally."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Lion Camp

Lion Camp

"Awesome photography guide"

3 nights Arrived 31 Jul 2016
"This is a return visit (from 2010) and my, how the camp has grown in popularity. It it still an amazing location for game viewing, still serves some of the best food I've ever had on safari, and it seems people are catching on. I was pleased to see they have new vehicles, and a new team of very experienced guides. Our guide Meyam was a superb photography guide who had his own DSLR and understood positioning and light, and in particular understood that the best photography position is not necessarily right on top of the animal but to give it space to behave naturally.

He also caught on we were interested in birds, and spent plenty of time on bird identification. In general at Lion Camp I was also impressed with their prompt early starts in the mornings - great for photography. We had some wonderful sightings of lions and leopards, but also spent time with elephants and buffalo, and even caught a couple of honey badgers in daylight..

The only downside to Lion Camp has always been its more built up style compared to Zambia's more rustic bush camps, so I was very excited to hear about their plans for a bush camp which, if they get it right, should provide a perfect counterbalance to the style of the main camp. And come October I bet even the most hardcore bush enthusiast will secretly appreciate the guilty pleasures of an electric fan and a dip in a swimming pool............."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Nkwali

Nkwali

"Love Robin Pope"

3 nights Arrived 3 Aug 2016
"This was my second stay at a Robin Pope camp (I was at Tena Tena in 2014), and I loved the same things about Nkwali that impressed me at Tena Tena. Their guides are super keen, the starts are good and early in the morning and the whole experience is very safari focused. Their vehicles are great, seating a maximum of four and with no canopy. We had Kiki as our guide who I know is one of their most experienced, and he even suggested leaving a bit early on a couple of afternoons to give us the best possible chance of catching certain sightings. Through extreme patience we managed to catch wild dogs on the first morning drive, a sighting which has eluded me despite much time spent in the park. And then leopard cub(s) twice!!

The camp is lovely. The open fronted rooms are stunning, and I loved the amount of wildlife that could be seen around the camp. On our first afternoon there were lions and at one point a hyena on the riverbank opposite, then at various times during the day I had banded mongooses, bushbuck and baboons almost stepping inside my room.

Overall, Robin Pope continue to impress me massively and together with their "no single supplement" policy this makes them a firm favourite for repeat visits."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent

June in South Luangwa

Zambia between 31 May 2014 and 14 Jun 2014

Trip rating: Excellent
"This was my first visit at this time of year, and it exceeded my expectations. Tall grass was an issue in some areas, especially the walking camps, but not in all the areas, and it wasn't as bad as I'd feared it might be. I had excellent leopard and lion viewing, four Pels Fishing owls and very enjoyable walks.

The trip was a mix of new camps (for me) and old favourites but all were excellent in their own slightly different ways. South Luangwa truly is a paradise, and still my favourite part of Africa. I look forward to returning next year.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

Not really."

Arranged By Claire Scott


Flatdogs Camp

Flatdogs Camp

"One night stop"

1 night Arrived 31 May 2014
"I just stayed one night and didn't do any game drives, but the staff were very friendly and had a good catch up on Luangwa gossip with Jess & Adie."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Puku Ridge

Puku Ridge

"Great game viewing from the camp"

3 nights Arrived 1 Jun 2014
"There were a lot of things to like about Puku Ridge. The location is great and the animal viewing from the camp is the best I've ever seen, we even had 2 honey badgers go past one evening. The rooms were lovely with indoor and outdoor showers and a nice day bed on the veranda for siesta time animal viewing. The food is excellent, and some people will like having a choice of meals (although I'm personally not bothered).

My guide Lameck was very enthusiastic and even took us out straight after lunch one day to follow up a tip off about wild dogs which I was keen to see. No luck, but it was much appreciated that he put in the effort. The managers were also very friendly and professional, especially Claire, and they quite sensitively allocated a very hardcore birding couple their own vehicle.

The main thing I didn't warm to was the lack of communal dining which, as a solo traveller, I really missed. I was sat with another solo lady but it would have been nice to have managers or guides join us for at least some meals. I realise not everyone likes communal dining, but other camps seemed able to accommodate those who requested separate seating.

I also prefer vehicles with no canopies, as at the RPS camps and Tafika, but again that is a personal preference."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Tena Tena

Tena Tena

"Tena Tena"

3 nights Arrived 4 Jun 2014
"This was my first visit to an RPS camp and I was very impressed. I liked the way they got out early in the morning (30 mins before other camps) and didn't have overly elaborate breakfasts which tend to delay people. The experience seemed very "safari focussed" which is a good thing in my book.

They were also very flexible about activities, even sending over an extra guide from Nsefu at one point to accommodate everyone's choice of activities. The vehicles were very comfortable with a maximum of 4 guests and I prefer not having a canopy. Despite the lack of shade, for all round visibility, especially looking at birds or animals in trees, I think the vehicles without canopies are better.

The managers/guides were all very friendly and mealtimes were very enjoyable. It was nice to see a hostess/caterer (Rose) with some safari industry experience.

The food was mostly good, the lunches being better than dinners. I wasn't keen on the Mongolian BBQ idea, especially when I found myself chewing on raw chicken. Fortunately there were no nasty consequences.

I loved the tents, which aren't huge but that makes the outdoors seem closer, and I loved the outdoor bathrooms although the hot water in my shower was very temperamental. I have a fair bit of experience in coaxing these geisers to work, and I couldn't get a consistent supply of water of a moderate temperature out of it. They should do something about this.

But overall, I'd definitely go back to RPS."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Tafika

Tafika

"3rd visit, still awesome"

3 nights Arrived 7 Jun 2014
"They moved my walking days to coincide with another group, so I had 2 nights at Tafika before the walking camps and one after, which was fine.

This was my third visit to Tafika, and as ever the hospitality, guiding, food, rooms, and everything really was excellent. I love the family atmosphere, pets and all, of this place. It was lovely to see Jenny taking her place in the family business, and maybe look forward to being guided by her next visit now she has passed her exams........

The only minor gripe, and not sure if this should go under the Tafika review or the walking camps review, is that at the walking camps the noise from the microlight is quite audible which slightly spoils the wilderness feel. There isn't much that can be done about the noise level, but on my last morning walking back from Crocodile it was particularly noticeable as I think they were taking 7 people up. I think they need to think about limiting the number of flights in one morning, to minimise the disturbance at the walking camps."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Chikoko Tree Camp

Chikoko Tree Camp

"Baboon ate my toothpaste :)"

2 nights Arrived 10 Jun 2014
"This was my second visit to Chikoko. The grass at the walking camps was very high at this time of year making it harder to spot game but our guide Brent was excellent and kept the walks interesting, and dealt well with the mix of safari experience levels in our group.

We still saw plenty of game including watching elephants cross the river, just no cats this time. There was a naughty baboon stealing anything edible from the camp, including chewing on my toothpaste. I always thought it odd that Remote Africa provide toothpaste in the rooms, who goes on holiday without toothpaste? But it came in handy!

I believe there is a plan to replace all the steps in the chalets as these are getting a little precarious.

Food was excellent, probably the same as Tafika but I think it seems even better when you've been walking! It's amazing what they can produce from such a basic kitchen."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Crocodile Bushcamp

Crocodile Bushcamp

"Crocodile"

2 nights Arrived 12 Jun 2014
"Second visit to Crocodile. I slightly prefer the camp to Chikoko. On my last visit (late Aug) it seemed there was a lot more game around at Chikoko. At this time of the year there seemed less of a difference, perhaps due to more water around at Crocodile?

There seemed to be some new decor touches around the camp and in the rooms since my last stay (Aug 2009). The walk in mosquito nets are a definite improvement and the robes are a nice touch. I also like the hammocks (but these aren't new).

As with Chikoko the grass was very high in places.

A lovely relaxing stay in a beautiful camp, and Brent was an excellent guide and host."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

Ruaha and Selous

Tanzania and 1 other country between 22 Aug 2013 and 7 Sep 2013

Trip rating: Excellent
"Ruaha and Kwihala were the stars of this trip, with Ruaha producing some amazing game viewing and Kwihala providing top notch guiding.

Overall an excellent trip though."

Arranged By Claire Scott


Kwihala Camp

Kwihala Camp

"Kwihala Revisited"

7 nights Arrived 23 Aug 2013
"This was my second visit to Kwihala, and my third to Ruaha. Kwihala has become one of my favourite camps in Africa- they're doing everything right here. The guiding is excellent, and the atmosphere in camp is fun and sociable. We had fantastic game viewing, with lots of predator sightings and even a cheetah kill!

If I was going to be really picky, I'd say one of the vehicles we had (the Defender) was really rather tight on legroom and got a bit uncomfortable on some of the longer drives. We got swapped to one of the other vehicles half way through our stay, which was a lot better."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Selous Impala Camp

Selous Impala Camp

"Selous Impala"

4 nights Arrived 30 Aug 2013
"There was nothing massively wrong with Selous Impala, but I didn't really warm to it. The rooms are nice, the managers were nice enough but it was rather hard not to compare it to Kwihala which has a much more friendly atmosphere. The separate dining policy is probably mostly to blame for this, and I was aware of this in advance and suspected it would be a negative but unfortunately this seems to be common at a lot of camps in Selous.

Our guide was also a bit disappointing. Although his knowledge was good if we asked specific questions, he didn't volunteer much in the way of information either about the wildlife or about where we were going and why. When we suddenly found ourselves crashing off road into a gully nearly having our eyes taken out by bushes, we had to ask why to find out it was because a leopard with cubs had been sighted there recently. He did also seem to drive a bit too fast for comfort on the very bumpy Selous roads, and seemed reluctant to switch the engine off whenever we stopped. Even if I'm not taking photographs, I'd still rather sit in peace listening to the sounds of the bush than to the engine idling. Again, Selous Impala just didn't measure up to Kwihala on the guiding."
Average
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Average
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Average
Facilities
Good
Unguja Lodge

Unguja Lodge

"Unguja"

3 nights Arrived 3 Sep 2013
"The safari aspects of the trip were always more important to me, but I enjoyed Unguja. The rooms and food were excellent, the owners very friendly. I did a few dives with the dive centre which is very conveniently located on site.

The only suggestion I would make is that if someone is using the upstairs sleeping area (as I was), there really needs to be some sort of monkey-proof storage area provided. We were told the monkeys would come in and take small items, even clothes etc so we should just secure all our belongings in the downstairs bedroom. Apparently they can even open zips eg on toiletry bags. But this wasn't a satisfactory solution, especially when I was getting up early to dive and didn't want to be going in and out of the downstairs bedroom disturbing my friend. Even in the bathroom there was nowhere to leave hair brushes, toiletries etc. Surely it would be possible to provide one monkey-proof cupboard or chest in the bathroom and one in the sleeping area? I felt like I was living out of my bag for the whole stay!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Dhow Palace Hotel

Dhow Palace Hotel

"Great Location"

1 night Arrived 6 Sep 2013
"Great location for sight seeing and reastaurants. Not the most amazing hotel but good value for the price. I ran out of hot water in the morning. The beds are super comfortable.

Having stayed here before, I think I prefer the rooms in the old part of the building (we were in the new bit)."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Rooms
Average

8 Days in Ruaha

Tanzania between 31 May 2012 and 10 Jun 2012

Trip rating: Excellent
"Overall an excellent trip

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

I would like to see the website/brochure with a bit more information on pricing- at least guideline prices. Also information on special offers eg "stay 4-pay 3". As a solo traveller, information on single supplements and ideas for trips with low or no single supplements would be much appreciated."

Arranged By Claire Scott


Kwihala Camp

Kwihala Camp

"Lions Galore"

8 nights Arrived 1 Jun 2012
"I partly chose Kwihala for an 8 night stay based on the based on the comments of Expert Africa's previous guests and I can now say that all the praise of the guiding is completely justified. I have been on many safaris and spent 6 months working in safari camps, and I don't think guiding gets any better than the guiding at Kwihala.

Festo had an answer for every question about any bird or animal, as well as an in depth knowledge of the particular individual animals and prides of lions in Ruaha and their histories. Pietro is extremely passionate, not only about wildlife and conservation but also about his involvement in contributing to the guiding profession by the training of guides. The camaradarie within the team also makes for a fun atmosphere in camp and at mealtimes. I was the first guest of the season and their only guest for the first 5 nights of my stay and their enthusiasm was apparent when I found myself accompanied on a number of my early drives by the entire guiding team of 2 guides and 2 trainees who couldn't wait to get out there and see what had been going on in the 2 months of camp closure (or in Pietro's case, since he left last October).

The game viewing exceeded my expectations for what is, allegedly, not the best time of year . For only the beginning of the dry season I found it already looking very dry with no particularly high grass or thick vegetation. We saw a big male lion on the way from the airstrip followed by leopard and cheetah on my first afternoon drive, and continued with countless lion sightings, glimpses of serval and honey badger, not to mention Ruaha's herds of elephant and buffalo. There was plenty to see and, thanks to Festo, Pietro, Lorenzo and Tony my bird knowledge has improved significantly. Three lion cubs in particular provided numerous highlights including playing in the Mwagusi river bed and climbing a tree, and we also saw lions feeding on buffalo and giraffe. The piece de resistance was on my final morning, when I awoke to sounds of lions killing a warthog about 100 yards from my tent. We were quickly rounded up by Pietro and taken to watch two males (one of which was the aptly named Grumpy) feeding for 2 hours from darkness through sunrise, with the three cubs (Grumpy's offspring) arriving to beg for scraps.

Ruaha is a superb park with a lot to offer and can easily justify a stay the length of mine. It is huge with many different areas and Kwihala has a prime location close to the most productive game viewing area. I asked Festo what different lion prides they saw on a regular basis and I lost count at 10. In my stay we saw lions from 4 of them, as well as a shaky coallition of 4 new young males. The scenery is also very diverse, from the granite kopjes, boulder strewn river beds, to the open spaces of the "small Serengeti" to the wide sand rivers and the shady woodland along the Rufiji River. Best of all, I hardly had to share it with another vehicle.

I think Kwihala is definitely a camp which would be appreciated by experienced safari goers as the guiding is outstanding. Having said that, such enthusiasm is infectious and the three honeymoon couples who arrived during my stay (mostly first timers on safari) seemed to be loving it as much as me.

I would love to come back and see what Kwihala has to offer in "peak" season!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Southern Sun Dar

Southern Sun Dar

"Southern Sun Dar review"

1 night Arrived 9 Jun 2012
"Fine for a night's stay although I had to chase them to get the time for my airport transfer in the morning, and then when I went down in the morning no one seemed to have any knowledge of my transfer being pre-paid.

When I produced a voucher someone from Kersey's took me but no one seemed to have a record of me."
Average
Location
Average
Service
Average
Rooms
Good
Facilities
Good

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