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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Carmine Bee-eaters from UK

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

3

Excursions taken

0

My May 2022 trip

Zimbabwe between 14 May 2022 and 25 May 2022

Trip rating: Excellent
"This was an excellent combination of camps in Hwange originally booked in 2020 but delayed by Covid. Expert Africa were very good at keeping me informed of restrictions and rebooking the trip. All elements of the trip ran like clockwork with the exception of a lost bag at the airport which Expert Africa and camp staff helped get returned.

The Hide is on the borders of the park and next to the rail line so you will see a reasonable number of other vehicles and occasionally hear the train. Accommodation is at the luxury end with roll top baths overlooking the waterhole, mains electricity and very solid 'tents' while maintaining the feeling of being out in the bush.

As it has its own concession separate night drives are available after dinner and well worth the time but if travelling in winter take plenty of warm clothes and wear the ponchos provided, not glamorous but effective.

Our guide was a Victoria Falls based contractor who exemplified the reputation Zimbabwe has for very high standards. In addition to masses of elephant and general game we saw two lion prides, one several times, sable and buffalo.

Two highlights were walking in a forested area getting close to elephant and a zebra herd, and the close up views of elephants afforded by the hide at the camp, just feet from where they were drinking. One curious young bull even put his trunk up to the viewing space to sniff us out.

We spent a night at The Dove's Nest sleep out treehouse. This was an amazing structure and a great experience even if time there was rather short. Be aware that the stairs, particularly to the sleeping platform, are rather steep.

Camp staff and management were friendly and efficient while the food was good and plentiful. While meals are generally taken together with other guests and staff there is some provision to eat separately if you have a special occasion like the honeymooning couple's first dinner. I also noted careful attention to the dietary requirements of some guests.

This is quite a high end comfortable camp within reasonably easy reach of the Main Camp transfer point. It's not quite as 'bush' as our next camp but a great place to start a safari and I bet the pool is really welcome in the heat of summer.

After 4 nights at The Hide our transfer to Camp Hwange went as planned delivering us in time for a great lunch.

Camp Hwange is also very comfortable while being a bit closer to a traditional tented camp, albeit with thatched roofs and running solar heated water.

Tents and the main area all look out over a waterhole with a moonscape near the bar for closer viewing of visiting game and birds.

The camp was very efficiently run by welcoming camp manager Shane and her staff who all managed to convey a real investment in making your stay as perfect as possible.

The guiding was excellent and we were fortunate to have both qualified guide Moses and trainee Savannah on our vehicle plus an additional tracker on occasion.

Moses was a fount of information and committed to getting good sightings in interesting places including sundowners with the hippo at Masuma Dam. As well as approaching elephant on foot we also encountered a herd of buffalo when Moses had us crawling up an elephant pathway to get within about 15 meters. a truly once on a lifetime experience. Moses took us walking for part of most drives, sometimes for a couple of hours and sometimes a short approach to game.

Even though she was in her first year of training Savannah was a great addition to the team and I'm sure will go on to make a very good guide. She's a wiz at spotting owls at night.

Overall Camp Hwange was everything I wanted from a safari, good food, comfortable accommodation, great staff and plenty to see. There were some drives when game was a bit thin on the ground, its a safari not Whipsnade, but Moses always seemed to find something interesting including African Rock Python, Wild Cat, a Porcupine and several Bat Eared Foxes.

The combination of The Hide and Camp Hwange worked well, thanks to Tom at Expert Africa for the suggestions, as they sit in somewhat different environments while also having access to a variety of different types of vegetation.

My last Expert Africa organised trip was more than a decade ago and it's good to see their high standards have been maintained despite the disruption of the last two years.

This was my fathers first safari shortly after his 80th birthday, he's already started planning for the next one."

Arranged By Tom Morris


The Hide

The Hide

"The Hide review"

4 nights Arrived 15 May 2022
"A beautiful lodge with luxurious rooms and attentive staff. The food was excellent and catered well for guests with particular dietary requirements. We had a freelance guide who was excellent with a breadth of knowledge that really impressed, for example how giraffes control their blood flow so they don't die when bending their heads to drink.

Highlights were seeing three lion prides including one with a kill very close to camp, a large group of giraffes near Hwange's palm trees, and a forest walk in the midst of elephants.

The eponymous camp hide is exceptional, allowing you to be feet away from drinking elephants, one of whom walked right up to investigate us with its trunk.

The only slight disappointment was our sleep out at The Dove's Nest. This is an very well three story treehouse but we felt drop off at 9pm and pick up at 6am meant we didn't get enough time to truly appreciate the experience."
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Camp Hwange

Camp Hwange

"Camp Hwange review"

4 nights Arrived 19 May 2022
"Camp Hwange is a superbly put together property in a great location. It has the feel of a traditional tented camp but with just that little bit of extra comfort like solar hot showers and solid polished floors. Views to the waterhole from every tent and a monoscope in the bar for a closeup meant great game spotting oportunities even from your bed.

The staff were very well trained, attentive and efficient. Everything worked like clockwork under the guidance of superb camp manager Shane.

The guiding was exceptional and we really enjoyed the emphasis on opportunities to go walking every day. Our guide Moses was a fount of knowledge in whom we had complete confidence while crawling up to a herd of Buffalo and approaching mature bull Elephants. We were also lucky enough to be accompanied most days by a spotter as well as trainee guide Savannah who's already great knowledge was a tribute to her and the training sh'e had in her first year.

We had some excellent unusual sightings including an African Rock Python, a Porcupine, several Bat Eared Foxes and two sightings of African Wild Cat - all firsts for me on my eighth sub-saharan safari.

Early mornings and nights were cold, especially on the vehicles so if you are going in May or colder months take plenty of warm clothes. The ponchos provided on the vehicles were a vital piece of equipment.

It's along five hours or so drive back to Victoria Falls from the camp so I'd suggest spending the night before your flight home in the Falls.

We could only have enjoyed our stay at Camp Hwange more if we'd seen Wild Dog and Leopard, but that just gives us a good reason to return, not that we'd need one."
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Batonka Guest Lodge

Batonka Guest Lodge

"Batonka Guest Lodge review"

1 night Arrived 23 May 2022
"A good quality value for money stop over about half an hours walk or a short taxi ride from the Falls themselves. There is also a twice daily shuttle service to the Falls park and Victoria Falls Hotel.

Staff were friendly, efficient and very welcoming. They even had a specialist barista if great coffee is your thing.

The main building had the feel of an old colonial mansion with comfy seating areas inside and on the expansive covered deck. Rooms were large and comfortable while the bathrooms were extremely spacious.

The grounds were a delightful space to while away a few hours watching visiting Baboons and the swimming pool was clean if a little cold in May.

Overall a great place to stay in the heart of Vic Falls without spending a fortune."
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Average
Facilities
Excellent

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