Travel reviews by The C family from Surrey
Total number of trips
Lodges stayed in
So pleased we visited Northern Tanzania
Tanzania between 23 Sep 2019 and 4 Oct 2019
We’re really pleased we visited Northern Tanzania"
Safari in Ngorongoro Crater
" Two full day Safaris into the Crater"
25 Sep 2019 • All-day excursion
The Crater is the reason we came and it made sense to us to stay down as long as we could.
It does make it a long day though.
The Ngorongoro Crater is a spectacular place and has to be seen and experienced, but in our view two days is all you need.
It is only 12 miles across, and although the game densities are good it does get crowded, and if there is a good sighting there are many trucks.
The floor of the Crater is 600 meters below the rim and great drive down and up.
Around the crater it it windy, very dusty and can be cool, wet and foggy, but that is all part of the unique experience.
"Kuro Tarangire review"
Bucket showers were interesting but did the job. Very friendly staff and helpful.
Food could have been a lot better.
Had one of the best guides we have ever had, SenKoro, great eyes, and very entertaining, and great company. To our knowledge, he did not miss a single sighting!
Very flexible camp, we did full day Safaris, eating lunch in the bush. We did night drives and a walk on our last day.
Tarangrire National Park often gets a bit forgotten about/overlooked, due to Serengeti & Ngorongoro Crater. But this is a big mistake. I have to say the game viewing along the Tarangire Swamp was spectacular, very high Game densities some scenes were 'Biblical" when all the mixed herds converged on the swamp to drink. We had three sightings of tree climbing Lions (one with four Lions in the same tree!).
In my view less trucks and better game densities/ viewings than Ngorongoro Crater."
"Chem Chem - Top Quality boutique lodge"
It even has a spa, swimming pool and a great gym!
It is not necessarily what hardened experienced Safari enthusiasts (like us) would necessarily want, but we loved it once we got used to being pampered.
Jared the Manager runs a very impressive, professional, slick operation, and everyone is so friendly!
The food is some of the best we have ever had at a Game Lodge, and there were lots of little touches. Serious fine dining!
There are lots of really special personal unexpected experiences and touches (like eating in a different place each meal time).
So, it is not really in the deep bush it is in a protected area, there are lots of relaxed small game animals and herbivores around and it is great to have them all around the camp.
But you will need to travel for about 20 minutes (through relative civilisation) to get into Little Chem Game Reserve or Tarangire National park, or for 90 minutes to get to Lake Manyara.
Little Chem Game reserve is impressive, albeit relatively small, however there is some spectacular Game viewing around the Water Holes, with some large herds of large old male elephants with big tusks (a rare sight nowadays) being our personal highlight. They provided us with lots of entertainment!. Little Chem was well worth a visit but only for 1 day (two max).
We took a full day excursion to Lake Manyara Game Reserve to see the Pelicans and Flamingos and were not disappointed. Again 1 day is all you need.
Our guide during our visit was Joseph. He was real fun, incredibly knowledgable, and great company. Nothing was too make trouble, he always wanted to go that “extra mile” for us. Also, driving to Lake Manyara, via the South gate entrance, Joseph showed us some real aspects of village life during our long drive, a real eyeopener!
We did really enjoy it though, and a great way to finish our Safari tour."
Overall well organised
Kenya between 5 Aug 2018 and 15 Aug 2018
We use Expert Africa regularly - it is always a good service."
"The Emakoko review"
We arrived very late in the evening and left very early in the morning so there was not much point in the effort of going. A nice hotel very near the Airport would have been a much better idea.
Didn't get a chance to see any of the Park and in any event since the have now built a Chinese built elevated Train line right through the middle of Park it is not worth seeing."
Nairobi Elephant Orphanage visit
"We did not go"
5 Aug 2018 • Morning excursion
"One of the best camps we've ever visited!"
The only Maasai owned camp in the Mara - there should be more.
Jackson the Owner/Host/Guide is a one of the most personable people I have ever met on my African travels on so many levels (Guiding experience, company, sense of humour, education, conversation, history etc.). He is also a bit of a celebrity having been a main participant in Big Cat Diaries (BBC TV Show). Now Co-Presenting a similar Show on Animal Planet.
The Game viewing was excellent, caught the Migration (impossible to count the Zebra and Wilderbeasts they were everywhere). Plenty of Lion action and we were privileged to see a full speed Cheetah chase and kill (which only happened because of Jackson's experience in positioning the vehicle and being patient). The chase finished in front of our vehicle. Saw Black Rhino.
We do not often plan on returning to a Safari Camp (as there are so many new ones to experience) but we will definitely be returning to Tangulia, apparently it is open all year round and there is lots of action even without the Migration. We go on Safari every year and so have seen a lot of camps in various countries - this camp is now in our top 3."
Cottars 1920s Camp
"Good Luxurious Camp -But too manicured for us"
However it did not really hit our buttons, didn't feel homely.
For us it was rather too manicured and hotel like. Not rustic and 'in the bush' . It had a lawn with a Croquet pitch! No doubt all part of the 1920's Colonial themed feel, I am sure.
In fact it felt a bit detached from the Bush - no water holes to overlook and to attract the animals in.
The staff were nice people and professional.
Our Guide Douglas was excellent and I would recommend him highly - very likeable and knowledgeable.
However the Game drive experiences overall were disappointing - We are experienced safari people and do not expect to see everything on tap. However over 6 Game drives we would have expected to have seen a few more highlights than we actually did.
In the round not one for us but I am sure that most people who go there - who want the kind of experience on offer will love it."
"Sarara Tree House was a great experience!"
The camp is well run and our Samburu hosts were great - we learnt a lot about the Conservancy and its history. Robert our Samburu Tree House Host was really good and a very likeable chap. He was good company and very knowledgable.We had fun together.
We really enjoyed our short visit. The experiences we had were new to us and varied. Walking, visiting the rescued baby elephant sanctuary, the Singing Wells (A biblical experience as our guide described it - and it was!). Night driving, just relaxing by the infinity pool with magnificent views
It is not a classical game viewing location like the Mara (i.e. no Lions or Rhinos or Buffalo - the top predators are the Hyena and Lepoard). But it has a lot to offer. We are regular safari trippers and have seen most things but we saw 5 new species and have never seen so many Dik Dik and Hyena, the scenery is stunningly beautiful.
It is a great place to relax and unwind at the end of a hectic safari tour. Fond Memories."
Trip of a lifetime!
Botswana between 8 Jul 2016 and 21 Jul 2016
We saw and experienced and met some great people and visited some fantastic camps!"
Arranged By Lucy Copson
"Great start & introduction to Okavango Delta"
Lazzie also had a local guide who accompanied us. He had great local knowledge as he'd grown up in the area. Fun driving in the river ways with our 4x4 The best siting of sable we have seen, they were so relaxed! Good lion and fantastic leopard sittings. We also had a nice relaxing cruise along the Okovango delta in a mokoro. Wonderful lilies and beautiful painted frogs.
The camp is set in a stunning location"
The hosts Aaron and Jamie Rose are professional, charming and a great asset to this camp. They really make you feel at home! The rooms are wonderful! They are in a stunning setting and the attention to detail is second to none. The food is exceptional and this is the first camp we have been to, and we've been to quite a lot, that served us a Devine cappuccino!
We were only at this camp for one night, wished we could have stayed longer, however we experienced so much within this time.
I think our guide was George, who'd been at the camp for about 27 years! George has seen the camp change and evolve over his time at Abu, so it was great to get an insight from George. The elephant experience is so much better than we thought it would be, as we were concerned it might be a bit commercial, however we learnt that it is more about conservation and it was an amazing experience to ride an elephant and feed them, we also enjoyed walking with them the next morning. The elephants socialise in the wild for several hours every day, which has resulted in several births at the camp.
We saw plenty of variety of other game at this camp, however our stay was all too short!
The attention to detail by Aaron and Jamie Rose really made this camp very special! I could say more but it's always nice to have some surprises during a visit!"
"Good game viewing"
The setting is beautiful and there is great game viewing. On our last day we saw leopard, cheetah and hyena all within 5 minutes! Our guide was very knowledgeable and keen to impart as much information as possible, not only about the animals and birds but also about the Okovango delta itself.
The food is good and the waiting staff are very keen to please. Dinner in the evening was always served at 8pm, and there wasn't a lot of ambience at the camp.
No information folder of any description in the rooms to explain the routines of the camp, the history, suggested gratuities, "drive" etiquette etc., and there was a TV permanently on in the main reception/sitting room. Lastly, it was difficult to establish who were the "management" at the camp."
"Wow! Didn't want to leave even after 5 days!"
Motts, our guide, was outstanding. He was an amazing tracker, host, and guide and he shared experiences with us we have never had before, and probably never will again. We will always remember the double buffalo kill, mother and a calf by the two male brother lions on our last night. The adrenalin flowed while we witnessed the chase, the kill and the sadness under a full moon. We stayed for several hours in very low light watching the brothers at work. The story continued the next morning when the whole pride, including young cubs came to feed. We even saw several lions cross the water to get to the kill.
Motts showed us so much, leopards, cheetah, roan, which we'd never seen before, lions, ........... And the list went on.
Life at the camp was fabulous. The setting is stunning and there was always a large variety of animals a birds visiting outside the main viewing deck. Lots of action in the camp as well with elephants walking through, destroying the odd tree and a Marshall eagle sitting with it's prey, a slender mongoose, in one of the camp trees.
The food was out of this world. Hermann, the chef, created healthy, colourful, varied meals which were always outstanding, and food you'd expect to experience in a top city restaurant!
Our host Willem, apologies if I've spelt it incorrectly, was charming, enthusiastic and great to talk and spend time with. He has a great outlook and life and runs a very happy camp. Nothing was ever too much trouble.
This camp, although expensive, was well worth the money. It exceeded our expectations in every way. The Great Plains Consevation company that hold this concession are doing a phenomable job!"
A great holiday
Tanzania and 1 other country between 22 Jul 2010 and 8 Aug 2010
Arranged By Claire Scott
Arusha Coffee Lodge
Plumbing was interesting - pool was basic."
Great setting very engaging and friendly team, very personable - good mangement. Nothing too much trouble. Very child friendly (we had a 10 and 12 year old). Bush breakfasts with our guides were great.
Great tracker (Leboo) and guide/driver (Alex) and we saw pretty much everything we needed to see in 4 days. Highlights were 2 lion kills and a trio of Leapord playing in a tree for 30 minutes! Would happily have stayed longer but to be honest the size of the concession meant that we had pretty much covered all of it.
Emanual the chef is a genius - easily the best most interesting and tasty food we have ever had on safari - consistently brilliant"
Serengeti Migration Camp
"Good but too big for us"
For us it was a tad too big (over 40 people for dinner) with lots of travelling safaris just dropping in and staying for one night. Not so much attention to detail as Klien's and not as personal.
Serengetti National park is a bit frustrating as the drivers cannot leave the road and there are no night drives. Having said that our guide (Moses) was brilliant and in 3 days we saw some great stuff (some of it right by the road). One Lion Kill and one Cheetah (3 cheetah) kill plus some great Leapord, sightings (5 in total).
Another highlight was a walking Safari from the camp up to a nearby hill (Kope) - with crocodile, Hippos and Buffalo on the way.
Child friendly and a good pool and sundeck overlooking the plains"
Breezes Beach Club
"OK but a bit disappointing"
The highlight for us was that we (my 12 year old son and I) signed up with the diving club and got PADI quilified - diving club is child friendly and they are a good friendly team.
The rooms were good but very few are by the beach and have a sea view (even the deluxe and premium ones) - most have garden views. Accodation buildings are a bit concrete and crammed together on the site. When the tide goes out the lagoon drains and you can walk out half a Kilometer to the reef. The lagoon is not good for swimming or playing in however as it is full of coral/rocks and sea urchins.
The biggest drawback was the food which was consistently disappointing particularly in the evenings. It simply lacked quality, however, when we filled in a comments card the head of catering, Marsha, did track us down and discuss it with us, however nothing changed,. it's obviously just the formula that the resort thinks works.
The tennis court had only 2 useable adult racquests available and some tired tennis balls.
Overall it is no more that a 3/4 star hotel from our perspective. Breezes need to up its game a little as it seems to be getting a little complacent. Not much evidence of "The Mangaement", apart from the catering side! No feedback questionnaire was requested from us by the hotel.
A lot of the financial dealings at Breezes was "cash only". It would have be useful to know this in adavance of our trip as the only way to access cash was to go to authorised dealers/banks in Stonetown, one hour away. Hotel not authorised to let guests withdraw cash. It would also have been useful to know in advance that long trousers are required in the evinings (I would have packed a pair!)"
These travellers also felt that Breezes was only a 3 – 4 star and were disappointed as a result. Breezes is regarded as a good 4 star hotel on Zanzibar and we are sorry of these travellers were expecting something more luxurious. For those looking for something 5 star we suggest that they consider Breezes sister resorts Palms or Baraza.
There seems to be some confusion over the payment methods at Breezes. The management have explained that their shop is cash only however it is possible to charge any purchases to the room account which can be settled by card. All meals and drinks can also be added to the room account. The dive centre is independently owned and so charges from here cannot be added to your room - payment for this is cash only.
Expert Africa was not aware of the policy of men having to wear long trousers in the evening as we have not received a comment about this from any travellers in the past, however we will definitely bring this to all of our future travellers attention to avoid this inconveniencing anyone again.
A perfect one or 2 night stopover from which to explore the old part of StoneTown"
Safaris camps and safaris fantastic
Tanzania between 17 Oct 2009 and 25 Oct 2009
We loved every bit of our time in the bush - wish it could have been a lot longer - we didn't really need a night in Dar at the end however.
We'll be back !
Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:
Keep up the good work"
Mwagusi Safari Camp
"Great rustic "in the bush" experience"
One really felt like you were part of nature - elephants walking between the tents , lions in the river bed, bats & monkeys in the bathroom - great
Food was good but limited - basically one menu for each meal - not unreasonable given the remoteness. Every night was an evening alfresco dinner in the bush or in the river bed near the camp. Lit by lanterns and with a big fire - cooking was on hot coals.
Very informal - keen knowledgable guides - kids loved it."
"Up market,well run, good location&facilites,"
Very well managed and hosted (thanks to Chloe and Mark)
Food was excellent and catered for our childrens requirements well.
Great game viewing - guides were friendly and affable and knew their way arond and found everything for us - including wild dogs. The lake added another dimension - crocodiles, and hippos all over the place - plus a fantastic abundance of wonderful birds - we took two boat game viewing trips.
It was good having a swimmng pool to cool down in and for the kids."
Serena Hotel Dar
"Basically somewhere to sleep"
It was functional enough but nothing special."
Mohammed the Manager was great, very welcoming, knowledgeable and helpful and nothing was too much trouble, a class act. We had met him before 5 years earlier when he was our Guide in Katavi, and he remembered us.
We were lucky enough to spend our last night in one of new, permanent wooden rooms. They are “contemporary safari”, fully insulated, with log burners, great views and great lighting and very quiet. ( No flapping tent noise)"