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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Dr & Mrs B from Herts

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

3

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

14

Excursions taken

0

Luangwa in the Emerald Season

Zambia between 16 Feb 2012 and 25 Feb 2012

Trip rating: Excellent
"Great short trip at a very different time of the year to the main tourist season. The stark contrast between the brown of the dry season, and the lush greens of this time of year was most striking. It was alike a completely different place. The light was clear - little dust in the air - great for photographs. The weather was a little variable - first few days were overcast with occasional light rain and one very rainy day. The second part of the trip brought bright sunshine every day.

Watching an already high Luangwa River rise by around 2 metres in a day and a half was quite memorable. Plenty to see - lots of the larger animals and birds around, all looking very healthy. The big cats were inevitably more elusive although we had a great leopard sighting on our way in, and a couple of lion sightings while we were there. Best of all, though, it was like having our own private safari - we were the only guests in each camp, and the staff were all very welcoming and accommodating of our requests and interests. It also meant we could spend as little or as much time as we wanted on each sighting without worrying about the needs and interests of other guests.

If you've been on safari a few times in the dry season, we'd most definitely recommend visiting at this time of year.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

None we can think of. We keep recommending you to others, so that's certainly an endorsement!"

Arranged By Claire Scott


Luangwa River Camp

Luangwa River Camp

"Luangwa River Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 16 Feb 2012
"Lovely location on the Luangwa River, with easy access across river to a productive part of the park. Sebastian and his team were great hosts - very welcoming and accommodating. They looked after us as if we were the only guests - we were! Freddie found us a leopard being intimidated by a puku on the way in - thank you Freddie for a great start to our trip!

We had some good sightings here including a couple of baby elephants playing mock charges in the early eving sun, and a week old hippo.

The main area has a lovely large bar and seating area with a small plunge pool out front - ideal for relaxing after a hard day's game viewing. The rooms are a good size, with a large bathroom area, and well spaced out.

We understand the rooms are currently being refurbished as Robin Pope has only recently taken over the lease on this camp. We're sure this is going to become a firm favourite."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Nsefu

Nsefu

"Nsefu review"

3 nights Arrived 18 Feb 2012
"Beautiful camp on a broad bend in the Luangwa river in the Nsefu sector. Not far from (on the opposite bank) Kaingo, but you'd never know it. You can almost sense the history of the valley in this lovely camp. Again, we were the only guests in camp, and Duadi and his team did a fabulous job looking after us and accommodating our wishes during some slightly inclement weather.

Great sightings of a group of elephants struggling to climb the steep river bank in fast flowing water, having crossed the river - they succeded. Beautiful late afternoon trip up the Mwamba tributary past hippos and all sorts of birds (including a Pel's fishing owl). And a lovely walk around the ebony grove area on the Kaingo side of the river. We even had a brief stop off to see what Kaingo looked like out of season.

At this time of the year this is a boat / walking camp only, and this provides a very different experience to the drives. The rondeval rooms are nicely furnished with a great deck and chairs out front, and a shower and bathroom at the rear. Thanks Daudi and his team. And Thomas - good luck with your guiding exams next month."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Nkwali

Nkwali

"Nkwali review"

3 nights Arrived 21 Feb 2012
"Couldn't believe it - three camps, and we're the only guests in each. Our own private safari. We actually ended up at Robin's House, immediately next to Nkwali, so this is really a brief review of the former. Kiki, Kanga and their team really couldn't have done more for us.

Great drives from across the river with Kanga trying especially hard to find the ever elusive cats (and dogs). The lions were finally seen early morning on our last day - via a quick dash during breakfast to Luangwa Safari House on the Nkwali side of the river. Robin's House was great - large, well furnished, and with a small plunge pool in the grounds.

Kanga also took us over to Luangwa River House one midday - beautiful location overlooking a lagoon teeming with a constant stream of elephants - thanks guys for opening up the house and allowing us to visit. All-in-all, we couldn't have asked for more on this trip, and for seasoned Africa hands, we'd certainly recommend a trip during the "Emerald Season". And Kiki - we trust you'll enjoy your extended stay in the UK later this year."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Eight Reedbuck Hotel

Eight Reedbuck Hotel

"Eight Reedbuck Hotel review"

1 night Arrived 24 Feb 2012
"A brief overnight stop before the early morning BA departure back to Heathrow. Approx 30 minutes drive from Lusaka airport.

Perfectly adequate for a short stay. Staff were very welcoming and helpful.

On-site restaurant serving a good variety of meals."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent

South & North Luangwa, Zambia

Zambia between 15 Sep 2011 and 1 Oct 2011

Trip rating: Excellent
"Outstanding trip. We thought our last visit to Zambia couldn't be bettered, but it has been. All the camps were excellent - no negative comments or suggestions for improvement. The African bush remains as alluring as ever.

Unfortunately for our bank balance we'll be back - please wait for the call!

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

We really can't think of any. This is our fourth trip organised through Expert Africa, and every one has exceeded expectations. We've also recommended you to others, and they've also experienced outstanding service.

Keep it up!"

Arranged By Claire Scott


Mwamba Bushcamp

Mwamba Bushcamp

"Mwamba Bushcamp review"

4 nights Arrived 15 Sep 2011
"Probably one of our favourite camps in Zambia. Intimate, with a real "in the bush" feel to it. Lovely bar and dining area, and a great hide overlooking a productive pumped waterhole. Sitting in the hide after returning from a morning drive and just watching what happens is a relaxing, and sometimes thrilling experience. Derek - I'm sure you could bill this as an "in-camp sauna" - an extra facility for guests! This was our second trip to Mwamba, and it felt like we'd never left.

Debbie and the team did a great job in looking after us, and Meyam, in his quiet way, is one of those rare guides who can truly convey the beauty of the bush and was a real pleasure to be with. Thank you Meyam. We were lucky enough to be there with an hysterically fun group of Australian artists (thank you Peta, Lyn and Judy). Leopard in a tree, hyenas whooping at night, lions in camp, you name it, we had it.

If you're staying at both Kaingo and Mwamba, do make sure you walk from one to the other - we saw leopard, elephants, a very friendly group of giraffe, zebra, wilderbeast, puku, impala, and no end of birds. Highly reccomended."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kaingo Camp

Kaingo Camp

"Kaingo Camp review"

3 nights Arrived 19 Sep 2011
"A great camp overlooking the Luangwa river. Always lots going on - three activities a day (don't miss the hippo hide - one of us stayed there for nearly four hours one day), and the newly positioned carmine bee-eater hide. Plus, all sorts wander through camp, and there's always something going on on the river. Lunch served on your personal deck overlooking the river is a great idea.

Derek, Issy, Lisa and the staff were extremely welcoming and always willing to help out. And Patrick is truly one of the best guides in Zambia - quietly unassuming and reassuring, with a deep knowledge and passion for the bush, even if his comment on a night drive that generally hyenas only scavenge in the South Luangwa was proved somewhat inaccurate two minutes later by an impala kill by two "scavenging" hyena right next to our vehicle! Nature at its most raw but one of the harsh realities of wildlife.

Thank you Derek, Jules and all the staff - both Mwamba and Kaingo remain on our "must visit again" list - and we will. Highly reommended."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Tafika

Tafika

"Tafika review"

3 nights Arrived 22 Sep 2011
"We love this camp. On a broad site overlooking the Luangwa river, with large reed chalets and plenty of space to unpack and organise items. Heather and the team were extremely welcoming and the relaxed atmosphere just helped us immediately to feel at home. Bryan, Alex, Amon and Mukupa were great guides, and tried really hard to find the elusive leopards. However, too many lions around this time.

Experienced our second kill on a night drive with Alex - a small and unfortunate puku caught by a couple of lions in a ditch right next to our vehicle was quickly followed by the appearance of eight more inlcuding several young ones - the adults allowed the latter to commit the "coup-de-grace" and a rather grizzly scene ensued. Hyena, elephants, hippo, giraffe, impala, baboons, monkeys, zebra plus a great night sighting of a very relaxed porcupine.

The microlight flight with John is an absolute must - experience an African sunrise watching elephant cross the Luangwa river while two hundred feet high, and add in the bonus of the Hollywood pride of 17 lions relaxing a couple of hundred feet away from an empty Crocodile Camp, and you know why you will keep coming back.

Thank you John and Carol, and all the staff at Tafika - we'll be back. Highly recommended."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Mwaleshi Camp

Mwaleshi Camp

"Mwaleshi Camp review"

3 nights Arrived 25 Sep 2011
"Our first time to this lovely intimate camp in the North Luangwa after a thrilling transfer in a small Cessna 206 from Tafika - thank you Brad! Greg, Special, Moffat, and the team, plus Timbwe, our National Park scout were all very welcoming.

This is a very different experience compared to being driven around in a Land Cruiser. Be prepared for frequent crossings of the Mwaleshi river, and on-foot encounters with elephants, zebra, wilderbeast, hippos, hyena, and a rather forlorn looking crocodile and other smaller animals. The larger cats were somewhat elusive during our visit, but they had been around. The walk to the Confluence is beautiful, and provides a very different perspective on the African bush.

Lovely brunch overlooking the hippos at the junction of the Mwaleshi and Luangwa rivers. Elephant in camp on our first night provided some excitement, while the experiment photographing the stars above camp on our last night only helped to reinforce how much light pollution we have in the UK - rarely have we seen the MIlky Way so bright. Be aware that by 10.30am the temperature is hot - a walk across the "badlands" to the airstrip at this time will bring this home!

Thank you to Greg and all the team for a very different African experience."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Nkwali

Nkwali

"Nkwali review"

2 nights Arrived 28 Sep 2011
"Our first visit to Nkwali, and we're sure it won't be our last. Harriet and the team were very welcoming. Kanga was a fabulous guide - very knowledgeable, and friendly, and passionate about all forms of wildlife. The camp is beautifully laid out overlooking the Luangwa river - lots of action both in camp and on the river, including elephants, crocodile and a water monitor at the small waterhole, and baboons and monkeys wandering around.

Varied drives on both sides of the river - lots of lions, hippos, elephant, giraffe, zebra, wilderbeast, warthogs, impala, puku, a couple of good sightings of leopard, one very relaxed walking along a dirt track at night, and the highlight of our whole trip - after watching a few hundred buffalo - a pack of nine wild dog relaxing in a dried out river bed in the mid morning sun spotted on our last morning in the Luangwa Valley. Thank you Kanga!

The rooms are spacious, overlook the river, with plenty of storage space, and double showers and sinks. Mains electricity in all rooms made it easy to charge batteries etc. Highly reommended."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Pioneer Camp

Pioneer Camp

"Pioneer Camp review"

1 night Arrived 30 Sep 2011
"A single night stay to catch the early morning BA flight back to the UK. 30 minute transfer from Lusaka airport, and a warm welcome from Paul. It's unfair to compare Pioneer with the camps in the Luangwa - Pioneer serves a very different purpose, but it's a nice gradual re-emergence back into what passes for civilisation!

Paul helped with online check-in the night before the flight. Lovely Chitenge area, friendly dogs milling around, and a great evening meal and breakfast followed by an early morning transfer back to Lusaka airport for the flight home. Very relaxed atmosphere."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent

Overall comments on our Zambian trip

Zambia between 3 Oct 2009 and 15 Oct 2009

Trip rating: Excellent
"Unbelievable! This trip exceeded our expectations by a long way, and we can't wait to go back.

One tiny comment: As a keen photographer making maximum use of the "sweet" light a couple of hours after sunrise, and an hour or two before sunset, is crucial to getting good photos. If there was any way in which the guides could be given basic training in this, and how to best position the vehicle for the best light angle, this would make a difference between an "excellent" and a "superb" drive.

For us, it's not so much seeing the big cats on every drive, but the opportunity to take those "once in a lifetime" photos, even if it is"just" a family of baboons doing what baboons do but in the superb early morning or late afternoon light. Some guides were superb at this - both Patrick and Freya at Kaingo and Mwamba, for example, and Alex and Bryan at Tafika, and all guides were more than willing to try to get the best position when requetsed.

We didn't quite feel that the guide at Sausage Tree had the same intrinsic sensitivity, although this is a minor comment on a truly expert and experienced guide. We appreciate it can be difficult when there are several couples on the same vehicle, and compromises may need to be made to meet the objectives and expectations of everybody involved. This feedback is given in a psotive spirit with the objective of making a superb experience even better.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

Nothing specific. Everything was extremely well organised and went superbly smoothly. Claire was incredibly helpful in arranging our preferences, with excellent communications all round."

Arranged By Claire Scott


Kaingo Camp

Kaingo Camp

"Kaingo Camp"

3 nights Arrived 3 Oct 2009
"Fabulous camp overlooking the Luanga river and close to some beautiful ebony forest groves. The camp staff couldn't have been more accommodating - Tom did an outstanding job keeping everything ticking over, while Alison seemed omniprescent and was always attentive. Freya was an absolutely superlative guide, more than ably assisted by James, Meyem and Nashion, finding anything and everything, even taking a small group out after dinner one day to revisit an earlier buffalo kill

The hides (one of the key reasons we chose the camp) are a short drive away from the camp, and a visit makes up the "third" (midday) activity. This makes for a long day, with little opportunity for a midday siesta (we're not complaining!). The hippo hide and the elephant crossing hide in particular were superb, and we could have happily stayed in each all day. Nice "small" touches - bean bags and dust covers for the cameras (the Shenton camps were the only ones to provide these).

Being a photographer herself, Freya was very conscious of good positioning of the vehicle, optimising use of the available light. As our main interest was in photography, this helped enormously in ensuring great drives. Meals were excellent, although we felt sorry for the camp staff on several occassions when only a couple of us turned up for lunch. Derek and Jules were very welcoming, and we were delighted to have been in camp while Marianne Shenton was there - what a lady!

Highlights - the buffalo kill, the tree climbing lions, the leopard sightings, the hippo and elephant hides, the relaxed hyena, the buffalo "stampede", watching the tiny elephants trying to use their trunks, the porcupines and gennets, and the walk to Mwamba - this is a "must do". If there was a grade above "Excellent" Kaingo would receive it!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Mwamba Bushcamp

Mwamba Bushcamp

"Mwamba Bush Camp"

3 nights Arrived 6 Oct 2009
"A superbly located small bush camp located on the banks of the (in October) dry Mwamba river. Josh and his team did a fantastic job of delivering absolutely first rate service in challenging circumstances - elephant came through camp two out of the three nights we were there, the first night demolishing part of the kitchen, and the third night trashing our shower, and for good measure, the kitchen again. How he kept his humour, we'll never know!

Patrick was an absolutely superlative guide - extremely knowlegeable, always friendly and good humoured, and with an ability to spot anything. That leopard sighting in the tree still makes our hearts race. Gideon was a great spotter. The in-house hide is fabulous - located overlooking a small pumped water pool, and attracting a lot of wildlife; a very tranquil location to catch up after breakfast on the photo downloads and back-ups while waiting for activity.

We were particularly lucky to be sharing the camp with just one other delightful couple for the first two nights, although we could guess the intimacy could be a little more challenging with less enchanting guests. One small note - our chalet was located under the branches of a fig tree. The baboons took great delight in pelting us with figs while showering, and it was probably the abundance of figs that encouraged the elephants to visit around 1am in the morning. The other two chalets did not appear to be affected.

Patrick - if you read this - thank you for sharing in your "little piece of paradise". And Jsoh - for a first time Africa hand, you did a fabulous job. Again, if the scale went above "Excellent" Mwamba would receive even higher marks."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Tafika

Tafika

"Tafika"

3 nights Arrived 9 Oct 2009
"Fabulous camp located in extensive shaded grounds on the banks of the Luanga river. The chalets were huge (although we believe we were allocated the honeymoon suite, all the chalets looked of similar size from the outside), and open at head height at both ends which allowed for a through breeze - very helpful in the October heat. The shower / bathroom complex was excellent, and the multi-shelved wicker dresser allowed us to spread out our bag contents - it's funny how these small things make such a difference.

There is a small hide behind the camp (away from the river) overlooking a small waterhole, although we didn't see very much there while we visited. John and Carol were most welcoming, and Heather as camp manager seemed omniprescent. Irrepressible guide Alex, and superb spotter MCooper (?spelling), although we did manage to stump Alex on one question - how many kg of insects does an aardvark eat in a day (thank you John for that one), and Alex, if you read this, an aardvark grows to 50-80kg (rather than the 10-15kg we estimated), so on reflection we feel the 50g diet guessed would leave him a little on the hungry side!

The leopard sightings were awesome - multiple sightings on every drive (thanks to both Alex and Bryan for these and for locating the Land Cruisers for some superb photographs), but the real highlight must be the microlight flight - one of those 101 things to do before you die. One of us even managed to get to see two wild dog chasing a puku - not something you'd be able to do from the ground - a real David Attenborough moment.

And John, I'll be grateful to you forever for the second microlight flight to find the lions. I just wished we'd been able to stay aloft all day. We trust you've been able to sort out what was going on with the lions. The company at the camp was excellent - two other couples and a lady travelling on her own, made for an a magic mix which just heightened the pleasure of our stay. The food was outstanding, varied and beautifully presented. Excellent just seems too inadequate to describe this awesome camp."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Sausage Tree Camp

Sausage Tree Camp

"Sausage Tree"

3 nights Arrived 12 Oct 2009
"True elegance on the banks of the Zambezi. We were lucky enough to share this camp with just one other (honeymoon) couple after the first night. The location can't be beaten, and a constant stream of elephants crossing the river provide for regular entertainment.

Superb chalets, with a lot of storage space and places to lay out of the camera gear. Nicci and Alan were superb and attentive hosts - and we loved the story about the honey badger and the box of wine! Real Africa hands with a wealth of experience and anecdotes and a pleasure to be with. Hastings was an excellent guide bringing a lifetime of experience to the drives, while Victor shared a wealth of knowledge during a morning walk in the bush. James was a great spotter.

Claver (? spelling) was the most attentive "muchinda" you could ever ask for. His wry smile when we told him "10 minutes" for an evening collection from the chalet for dinner didn't give away the candlelit path through our bedroom to the bathroom when we opened the chalet door, nor the already prepared bubble bath - he knew we'd be more than 10 minutes! Highlights - sitting in the middle of the huge buffalo herd; the leopard sightings, and the lion bellowing as the sun went down.

But for pure experience, lunch on one of the reed covered snadbanks, with our feet dangling in the Zambezi river, would take a lot of beating. Even in October, the area seemed greener than South Luanga, and the bush was definitely denser. Personally, we would have liked to have spent a little more time just sitting out at the water holes and lagoons watching what appeared, but this is a minor comment, based on nearly two weeks bouncing about in a Land Cruiser, on what was an excellent finale to our Zambian excursion."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

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