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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Three from Manchester

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

2

Countries visited

4

Lodges stayed in

9

Excursions taken

0

Planes, treks and Automobiles

Rwanda and 2 other countries between 17 Sep 2012 and 30 Sep 2012

Trip rating: Excellent
"The trip was amazing, Rwanda exceed our expectations and I wished we'd stayed longer. Selous is a worthy extension and I couldn't have been happier with all the guides, transfers, flights and all but one of the hotels!

I would like to put in a plea that EA consider booking Rwandair air connections between Kigali-DAR/Kili. They are by far the most efficient and organised airline I've used in Africa and for clients looking to do a similar trip I would opt to book your own internal flights, than go back to Nairobi using EA partner airlines.

Thanks to Ellie and all at EA for organising a fabulous trip for us."

Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

"Gorilla Mountain View Lodge review"

2 nights Arrived 18 Sep 2012
"Reviews in various places on the web paint a mixed picture of this lodge. We were a party of 5 staying in rooms 1-4 which were located close to the main lodge. We found the rooms comfortable, hot water erratic (as you might of a place with time limited power) and the welcome warm.

On the whole it was a much nicer place than I expected and the biggest challenge is the generally damp, cool weather which could be troublesome for travellers who hail from warmer climbs. The weather ranged from something akin to a beautiful spring day in the British countryside to dark and stormy November rainstorms of the east coast.

The lodge is open and spacious, heating is limited to a wood fire in your room and an electric heater which may or may not work (ours didn't but others in the group were toasty). However, we spent a glorious afternoon in the sunshine after our trek drinking coffee on the lawn in the shadow of the volcanoes. In the evenings though you'll find yourselves sat in the restaurant or bar wrapped in a fleece or jacket.

Overall I thought it was a solid place to stay, in a beautiful location with edible food and friendly staff. I wouldn't hesitate to return and recommend it to all but the most demanding of travellers - if you want a spa, michelin food and butler then its probably not the place for you."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Facilities
Good
Hotel des Mille Collines

Hotel des Mille Collines

"Nice hotel, restaurant service a bit ropey."

1 night Arrived 20 Sep 2012
"The hotel has lovely views, stylish public areas and nice rooms, all you could wish for an overnight stay. Unfortunately for us we stayed on a Thursday night which is party night by the pool which on anotheer type of trip would have been fun, but having just left the tranquility of the volcanoes, it did grate a little on the senses.

We retreated to the 4th floor restaurant which has beautiful open air views over Kigali. The food here is OK, but they couldn't cope with a vegetarian - although a strange mix of a plate of spaghetti, potatoes and veg turned up eventually. The service was incredibly slow and we waited an hour for our food, which was OK as we had nowhere to be, but for the country the prices are quite high in the restaurant so I was expecting better service.

Breakfast the next morning in the same restaurant was a well organised and extensive buffet. For the breakfast and view alone I'd recommend this hotel and if its not party night I'd suggest eating dinner at thee pool bar."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Average
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Southern Sun Dar

Southern Sun Dar

"Ta Dah! in Dar"

1 night Arrived 21 Sep 2012
"I wasn't expecting much from the Southern Sun, I don't really know why though as it turned out to be a comfortable, well run hotel with some very nice touches and some of the best food we ate across the whole trip.

Rooms are nice, public areas comfortable, nice large terrace by the pool that served fantastic food at a reasonable price for a business hotel. Bottles of water given out at reception on arrival, plus a goody bag for the ladies (including some smellies and a kit kat). The gifts shop was well stocked if you have run out of time to shop and they will post a postcard for you at reception.

Overall and excellent overnight stop and should I visit Dar es Salaam again I wouldn't stay anywhere else"
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Lake Manze Adventure Camp

Lake Manze Adventure Camp

"Safari as it should be"

4 nights Arrived 22 Sep 2012
"Lake Manze is a really well run camp, it has the perfect balance between comfort and rustic charm. We had a fabulous time and all the other guests looked to be having as much as a ball as we were. We didn't have the best tents at Manze in terms of a view (10, 11 and 12) but tents 1-6 have a view of the Lake and so it might be worth requesting one of these to see if they are available (I would expect no guarantees though). Hosting is relaxed and friendly, food is fantastic and serving it outside under the stars every night is very nice.

Lighting in the tents is minimal (a lamp and some candles, plus a paraffin lamp in the bathroom). You soon get used to it though and I think it adds to the charm as well as reducing the impact on the environment. Its hot, hot, hot in Selous in Sept so the solar powered fans in the tents were a welcome addition! We found a small torch with a wriststrap came in handy to hang above the bathroom mirror on near the shower, they also come in handy when rooting through a bag in the dark.

The activities at Manze are the best feature with a good mix of options. I personally wasn't too impressed with the walk, but that maybe because I have been on a two day walking Safari before. If Manze is your first Safari then the walk might be more rewarding. The boat trips were excellent and better than anything I experienced in the Okavango, we did three and all were rewarding with close encounters with Elephants, watching Giraffe crossings, close to hippos (boat was bumped by one) and lots and lots of crocs.

The drives are excellent and starting early with a packed breakfast to have in the bush gives you a 6 hour drive in the morning which is a very decent amount of time indeed. Its nice to couple this with a Boat safari in the afternoon. I liked that you could mix and match the activities, go for an early morning boat trip, followed by breakfast back and camp and then out on a 3 hour drive. We did find the game quite skittish in Selous and some more than others, Zebra, Wilderbeast and Impala tended to keep a distance - although the Impala eventually seemed to relax. Giraffe are everywhere though and I was astounded by how many there are. One evening stretching our legs by the river we counted over 50 on the opposite river bank.

We had a top notch Leopard sighting and excellent Lion sightings, no dogs, but you win some you lose some. Selous as a park is very beautiful and I was surprised by the breadth of different terrain. I thought it had a wilder more untamed feel to it than the Northern circuit which is difficult to articulate, it just felt a more challenging life out there.

A final word for the guides and staff, we had a great guide and driver (Samuel and Emanuel) and our boat guid (Omari) was exceptional at getting us close to game on the banks. Its a big plus for me that Manze run a two person guide and driver system, some camps just have one person do both jobs and I much prefer having one person keeping an eye on the road and another on the game. All the staff were without exception delightful and it was nice to share a few days with people who are clearly committed to the camp and friendly and relaxed around guests.

I can't imagine any reason not to stay at Manze, its a proper Safari as it should be."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Image alt

Matemwe Beach Village, Zanzibar (this camp has since closed)

"....and relax"

3 nights Arrived 26 Sep 2012
"After a our adventures across Rwanda and Selous, Zanzibar was to be a place to collapse and do nothing. Matemwe Beach Village was a decent place to do this and we enjoyed our short and relaxing stay.

Rooms are basic, but not unpleasant, the water pressure in the shower is great and if you are by the beach the breeze is very nice ( I'd avoid room 1 though as its right next to reception) The public areas of the hotel exude relaxtion with slouchy seating and books scattered around. The bandas and hammocks on the beach are a nice touch and a welcome escape from the heat of the day, the hats and kikos provided in the rooms are also very nice.

The standout element at this hotel is the food, which I thought exceptionally good. I get the feeling there are cheaper places up and down the beach, but we were happy with our half board arrangement as the food was very very nice.

The Matemwe area is a huge sweeping bay of white sand and we were lucky with the tides, so we could swim easily most afternoons. We went snorkeling with one ocean which I was a little disappointed in to be honest, Mnemba atoll is renowned for its diving and I was expecting a little more from the snorkeling. It was quite challenging at the first site with a decent swell and it seemed to be quite deep water for a snorkeling site. Had it been my first experience of snorkeling it could well have put me off for good! The second site was calmer and better, but the sealife was quite so so and in hindsight we probably should have dived. One Ocean were certainly a well organised and professional outfit and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them.

Unsurprisingly Zanzibar was very poor, but it also seemed to have an air of not caring about it. It could be that my experience in Rwanda of a country trying so hard to improve and leave behind a harrowing past made Zanzibar look lethargic and uncaring of itself and I am perhaps being a little harsh. I heard wonderful things about Zanzibar before arriving, but we were in a quiet part of the island and the gulf between the western visitor and local population seemed enormous and a little unsettling. As a relaxing few days on the back of a Safari or Kili climb it was lovely, but Zanzibar is not somewhere I would rush back to."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Good
Activities
Average
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Average
Dhow Palace Hotel

Dhow Palace Hotel

"Single Rooms shoudl be avoided !!!!"

1 night Arrived 29 Sep 2012
"The Dhow Palace is a hotel of faded grandeur. We had a lovely room on the 3rd floor with a balcony over the pool and the sweeping corridors filled with antiques are impressive.

Sadly the three single rooms the rest of our group had were on the ground floor, small, dark, dingy and generally didn't feel at all secure. When we enquired about those in these moving an immediate "sorry the hotel is full" fell from the receptionists lips almosy before we'd even finished talking. I suspect that the single rooms are often complained about and as such Expert Africa should really book doubles for single travellers and inform them they do not recommend the the single rooms,

Room 11 which a female friend was in had a window that opened out onto a flat roof with a doorway opposite and people coming and going all the time. She felt so unsettled my better half slept in her room that night and she shared with me, he confiemed the next morning the comings and goings went on into the early hours. Its not a particularly expensive hotel and EA do themselves a disservice by allowing the hotel to place single traveller clients in these rooms. Otherwise though its a good base for Stonetown as long as you get a good double room on an upper floor.

Overall Stonetown is an eclectic, shabby, interesting place to spend a night but I wouldn't linger more than one. We did spend a delightful last night high in the rooftops at the Cafe at Emerson Spice Hotel the food and service fantastic and a great view of the town and out to sea."
Poor
Location
Excellent
Service
Average
Rooms
Poor
Activities
Poor

Expert Africa

Botswana between 21 Apr 2010 and 1 May 2010

Trip rating: Excellent
"We had a real nightmare with the Volcano Ash and had to cancel the first part of our trip to SA. Ann worked tirelessly to sort out options if ourre-scheduled flights to Botswana fell through and I was very impressed tat Kwando agreed to let guests affected by the flight ban to re-book at not extra cost.

Thankfully we made our Botswana leg, but Anna really showed just how good Expert Africa are in a crisis and that is exactly what you want from an agent. Well done EA we will definitely choose you again!"

Lebala Camp

Lebala Camp

"Lebala Camp review"

3 nights Arrived 23 Apr 2010
"Lebala is a lovely camp, with very dedicated guides and welcoming camp staff. The accomdation is of a high standard and the game drives flexible and professional.

There are not many "cats" at Lebala, however, we were lucky enough to get a world class sighting of a leopard over several days and view the Lagoon pack of wild dogs during a hunt.

Overall an excellent experience considering we travelled during green season, which isn't the best time to visit Lebala. Bali and PD our guide and tracker were great and Charles runs the camp manager runs the camp beautifully."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Footsteps across the Delta

Footsteps across the Delta

"Footsteps review"

2 nights Arrived 26 Apr 2010
"Footsteps is a rare gem of a place. The camp manager / guide Paul was the best guide and host we experienced and the food at footsteps is miraculous when you see the "bush kitchen" its prepared in. If you want to get up close with Africa and can live with a long drop toilet for a couple of days then this place has to be top of the list of anyones visit.

Whilst you don't see as much game on foot as you do in a vehicle. There really is nothing like several hours of walking in the African bush with just the sound of your footsteps and the workd around you for company. We had excellent game sightings at other camps of the more glamorous and famous game. However, I shan't ever forget walking across Pauls pan in the setting sun with elephants, impala and Giraffe in view. Then being followed by a journey of Giraffes for an hour or so before finding our sundowners set-up at four rivers (quite the most beautiful spot of the whole tri).

Our stay was topped off after being mock charged by an elephant in the camp itself.

Words don't really convey the feeling at footsteps, its Africa with all its beauty and rawness there for guests to experience and I hope it never changes."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Little Kwara

Little Kwara

"Little Kwara review"

3 nights Arrived 28 Apr 2010
"Little Kwara is a beautiful little camp and with only 5 tents a very intimate set-up. The staff are very warm and friendly and the guiding the usual Kwando high standard.

We saw plenty of game and unusual visits to camp by Lions and a Leopard made of an exciting evening one night.

The only reason the camp gets a good rather than excellent rating is that due to its size and focus on both water activities and game drives, its can be a little inflexible in terms of guests needs. Although they do try their best to accomodate any requests.

Personally I would recommend a private guide at this camp to ensure you do as you please during your stay."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Average
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent

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