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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr S & Ms M from Banstead

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

3

Countries visited

3

Lodges stayed in

15

Excursions taken

1

Disappointed.

Botswana and 1 other country between 12 Sep 2012 and 27 Sep 2012

Trip rating: Average
"Kwando Lagoon spoilt it. Please see separate email and attachment."

Feedback response

We had extensive discussions with these travellers after their trip. They enjoyed many aspects of their trip, but felt it was spoiled by Kwando Lagoon, and especially by the suspension on Lagoons vehicles, which they described as "boneshakers".

Arranged By Megan Green


Stanley's Camp

Stanley's Camp

"A reasonable start to our trip."

2 nights Arrived 13 Sep 2012
"The elephant experience was very good, though it became a bit gimmicky towards the end."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Kanana

Kanana

"Quite a good camp."

2 nights Arrived 15 Sep 2012
"Please see separate email and attachment."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Shinde Camp

Shinde Camp

"The best camp we stayed at."

3 nights Arrived 17 Sep 2012
"Would have been excellent if we had seen more wildlife."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Lagoon Camp

Lagoon Camp

"Why did we go there?"

3 nights Arrived 20 Sep 2012
"The vehicles were boneshakers and the roads were horrendous. Please see separate email and attachment."
Poor
Location
Good
Service
Good
Activities
Average
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Poor
Facilities
Good
City Lodge OR Tambo

City Lodge OR Tambo

"A good overnight hotel."

1 night Arrived 23 Sep 2012
"Ideal for a stopover."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Image alt

Mala Mala

"One of the best camps in Africa."

3 nights Arrived 24 Sep 2012
"It doesn't get much better than this."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

Trip of a lifetime

Namibia between 4 Oct 2010 and 10 Oct 2010

Trip rating: Excellent
"We spent 6 nights in Kruger National Park, 6 nights in Sabi Sand and 6 nights in Namibia obtaining images for a book on Africa we are writing. We could travel anywhere in the world for the next 10 years and not have a better trip than this, despite the problems with missing luggage etc. No 3 week trip is going to be perfect but this was very close.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

Can't think of anything."

Olive Grove

Olive Grove

"A reasonable overnight stay"

1 night Arrived 4 Oct 2010
"We arrived late, about 21:30, as my (Brian) luggage did not arrive with me and Wilderness Safaris spent some time with me sorting out the paperwork, however the staff at the guest house very kindly provided some sandwiches as we hadn't eaten since lunch time.

We had 2 problems at Olive Grove. Firstly we had several insects in the beds, which we had to remove before settling down. Secondly, we had no hot water in the morning. I contacted reception and was told to let the water run for 10 to 15 minutes, which I was unhappy about, knowing how short of water Namibia is. I let it run for a couple of minutes but then rang reception again and spoke to the manager who told me that we shared the hot water tank with the next room. Apparently they had had a shower and bath and taken all the hot water. As the hot water is solar powered and there was no sun she said she would switch on the immersion heater and we would have to wait. We eventually showered at about 07:45 having got up at 06:30. Coupled with the fact that I did not have a change of clothes this was not a good start to our trip."
Average
Location
Good
Service
Good
Rooms
Average
Food
Good
Okaukuejo Camp

Okaukuejo Camp

"Really enjoyed this camp"

3 nights Arrived 5 Oct 2010
"We stayed at Okaukuejo in 2007 and at the time they were refurbishing. This is now more or less complete and we were very impressed with the overall standard. The chalet we had (#89) was very good and perfectly located for the water hole, restaurant and shops etc. The staff were very helpful and friendly.

The photography was first class and we obtained all the images and more for the book we are writing on African wildlife."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Okonjima Plains Camp

Okonjima Plains Camp

"Had a good time at Okonjima Main Camp"

2 nights Arrived 8 Oct 2010
"In 2007 we stayed at Bush Camp and were hoping for a similar experience at Main Camp. The reception was very good and we really liked the lounge and dining area. However, when we were shown to our room (View room 4) we were very disappointed. It was not what we expected in Africa. We saw the buildings on the way in and thought they were staff quarters as they were of breeze block construction with a corrugated steel roof.

Once inside we found the decor very spartan and were amazed to discover that the furniture was made from sheet steel. Even the door frames were made from steel box section. As I come from an engineering background it was like going back to work. The room lacked warmth as there was only one picture on the wall. We would have expected to have a few pictures of Cheetah and Leopards adorning the walls. The bathroom/shower were very good though.

There was no air conditioning, which is fair enough, but as the temperature was 38/39 degrees we thought they might have had the windows open and the 2 fans going full blast. As it was it was like entering a sauna.

When we went out for our afternoon game drive the staff came into the room to tidy up and we don't why they closed most of the windows and turned off the fans. All the opening windows have mesh to prevent insects getting in. The room was just too basic and too hot.

On a positive note the staff were excellent, especially Sydney, our guide, who went the extra mile to ensure we got great sightings of Cheetah.

We enjoyed the food, especially dinner, where we were put with other guests. Our first dinner there will live long in our memory as we really hit it off with the other 4 guests and haven't laughed so much during dinner for ages."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Average
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good

The Holiday from Hell

Namibia between 21 Sep 2007 and 7 Oct 2007

Trip rating: Poor
"This was the wrong holiday at the wrong time. Christine and I had just sold our business, a manufacturing company employing 70 staff. In April, approx 6 months after booking this trip, we were contacted by our American competitors who made us a good offer for the business. Knowing we were going away in September we stipultaed that we wanted to complete by the end of August to give us sufficient time to arrange things and wind down from the stress of the sale. We eventually completed 2 days before leaving for Namibia and were in no fit state for this type of trip. As a result all sorts of things went wrong, which taken in isolation were insignificant, but added together spoilt the entire trip. Some have already been mentioned.

If we hadn't been so stressed and tired the driving may not have been such an issue, though I have already stated that I underestimated the distances. What I thought would be 2-hour drives were in fact 4 or 5 hour drives. The road conditions were also poor. Even the tarred roads are now in need of repair.

One other point we would like to mention concerns the fax Tracy sent to Pelican Bay. She stated that Ai Aiba is not the sort of lodge to fuss over clients. We're not sure where she gets that impression from. Neither Christine nor I expect people to fuss over us. In fact the opposite is true. All we really want is to be left alone, which is why we organised our own self drive rather than go with a group. As photographers we want the flexibility to wait around for the right moment to take stunning photographs rather than take snap shots.

Finally both Christine and I would like to thank Expert Africa and Tracy for all their help and assistance, especially when things went wrong during our stay."

Feedback response

We’re thankful to observe that this kind of disappointed feedback with any of our trips is very unusual. However, it does illustrate several important points though…

Firstly, our self-drive trips around Namibia require more involvement, energy and commitment from our travellers than most fly-in safaris do. These are not trips to that you can just sit back and enjoy – like to a few weeks lying on beach. They are really journeys of discovery, best entered into with an inquisitive mind and reserves of energy. Starting off on one of these trips in an exhausted state is, as demonstrated above, a recipie for disaster.

Secondly, travellers should not underestimate the driving distances and times in Namibia: these can be long. We have noted down the driving times and distances for some of the main routes in our brochure, and our team will always advise you on the more offbeat routes. On some routes, we’ll advise that stop is wise; please listen to us, and take the advice seriously.

By way of a ‘PS’ to this story – having discussed their trip with us at length, and put it into context, they chose to travell to Africa (Namibia) again with us in 2010, and then to Botswana with us in 2012. See details of these trips, above.

Arranged By Tracy Lederer


Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch

Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch

"A great way to start the trip"

1 night Arrived 22 Sep 2007
"As this was only an overnight stay we did not take advantage of any activities."
Excellent
Location
Average
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Kulala Desert Lodge

Kulala Desert Lodge

"Not ideal for landscape photographers"

2 nights Arrived 23 Sep 2007
"We wanted to be able to be in position within the sand dunes before sunrise. Although the lodge has its own gate, by the time we entered the area the sun had risen. It would have been better to stay closer to the main gate, which was apparently a 45 minute drive from the lodge."
Average
Location
Average
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Average
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Image alt

Pelican Bay Hotel, Namibia (this camp has since closed)

"A total disaster. See below."

4 nights Arrived 25 Sep 2007
"The drive from Sossussvlei was too long. My fault as I undermestimated the amount of driving. It was also on a gravel road, which was generally in poor condition. The continuous vibration did not do Christine's back any good. She suffers from osteoporosis.

People I spoke to prior to the trip told me how good the roads were. We have learnt the hard way to never rely on 3rd party opinions again!

Please see the Turnstone Tours section in respect of the activities."
Average
Location
Average
Service
Good
Facilities
Average
Rooms
Average
Food
Good
Coast and Sandwich Harbour

Coast and Sandwich Harbour

"A disaster"

26 Sep 2007 • All-day excursion

We didn't get to experience Turnstone Tours. Tracy told me that I was supposed to contact them on arrival and she claimed it said so in the letter she sent, which I failed to take with me. I have kept all the information and have re-read it and can find no mention of having to contact them. But then again why should we? Surely it is their responsibility to contact us. When we arrived at Pelican Bay we asked reception about the trips we had arranged with Turnstone Tours and they told us that TT would contact us. This eventually happened at about 09:00 the following day. Apparently they arrived to pick us up at 08:30 but there was a mix up with the names. When they realised their mistake they offered to come back to collect us if we could be ready in 10 minutes. By then we were in no mood to go on a trip especially in a vehicle with other clients. We were under the impression it was just the 2 of us. As photographers it's not fair on other people if we want to wait for some action to occur. Obviously there was a misunderstanding.

As far as the information is concerned why couldn't the details of time and contact details be included on the voucher. I'm a great believer in having all the info contained in 1 place.

Tracy also told me that the kayak trip had never been booked, which came as a surprise as I have an Excel spreadsheet, which I prepared myself clearly showing the kayak trip scheduled for 27 Sept at a cost of £80.00. I asked Pelican Bay to stamp the copy I had with me as proof of this and I can send it to you if required.

We cut our stay short and Tracy arranged for us to stay at Ai Aiba, which certainly helped with breaking the journey to Etosha, but the lodge left a bit to be desired. The shower in our chalet was lethal, as you got an electric shock off the taps and shower head. When we reported it, the solution was to switch the water heater off, which meant the water was stone cold in the morning. When they switched it back on again we eventually got hot water and more electric shocks!

On the 2nd evening the manager went on a game drive and took the key to the wine cabinet with him, meaning we could not have a bottle of wine with our meal. We had to settle for house wine, the less said about that the better. As we were the only diners we suspected he did this on purpose because we complained!
Terrible
Okaukuejo Camp

Okaukuejo Camp

"The water hole was excellent."

2 nights Arrived 29 Sep 2007
"The people in the camp have an attitude problem and treat guests like children. Quite a few people complained at having to pay a 500 Namibian $ deposit for their rooms, including me. We then had to wait to have the room inspected before having the deposit refunded. Bizarre!

The room would have been good if it had been finished. There were no shelves in the bathroom and no rail in the wardrobe to hang clothes. I have pictures to prove it. Also there was no number on the chalet and we couldn't find it. We asked an empolyee for directions and he sent us all round the houses, when in fact he was staring at it all the time. I only found it by trying the key in various locks. Great organisation!"
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Average
Facilities
Average
Rooms
Average
Food
Average
Waterberg Plateau Lodge

Waterberg Plateau Lodge

"We didn't stay there"

2 nights Arrived 1 Oct 2007
"With the problem with Christine's back we decided not do drive the 90 mile round trip to Halali on a gravel road in poor condition. Tracy Lederer kindly found us alternative accomodation at Waterberg Plateau Lodge, which was a wonderful location. The room was superb, as was the service, the food, activities and facilities. A taste of the real Africa.

Please note the overall experience rating is for Waterberg Plateau Lodge."
Excellent
Okonjima Bush Camp

Okonjima Bush Camp

"Worth going just to visit Africat"

3 nights Arrived 3 Oct 2007
"We have colleagues in the UK who know Carla and Dave who run Africat and arranged a behind the scenes visit. Dave took us out to feed 78 cheetahs, 3 lions, several leopards and caracal. An amazing experience. We have adopted a 4 month old cheetah cub and a leopard cub who will eventually be released back into the wild.

The lodge was also very impressive."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

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