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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr D & Mrs C from Surrey

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

2

Countries visited

3

Lodges stayed in

6

Excursions taken

1

My Oct 2012 trip

Zanzibar and 1 other country between 6 Oct 2012 and 17 Oct 2012

Trip rating: Excellent
"Thoroughly enjoyed the trip. Didn't expect to enjoy the beach/town as much as the game lodge but there was really little to choose between them - had a great time on all three legs. Arrangements were all pretty spot on. Excellent game viewing in the Selous and lovely to have the boat option; beautiful Indian Ocean setting and chilling at Shooting Star and a much needed bit of shopping in Stone Town! Fell in love with Africa all over again!

Special thanks to Angela for all her help with the arrangements - excellent service - will probably be a few years before we return to Africa, but you will be our first port of call."

Selous Impala Camp

Selous Impala Camp

"Selous Impala Camp review"

4 nights Arrived 7 Oct 2012
"A wonderful lodge. Service was generally excellent. We had the same guide/driver and waiter for the whole four days, which was really nice. There were also just the two of us on all drives/boat safaris/walk, which we weren't expecting and made for a really special experience.

The camp wildlife also enhanced the experience - Andrea the camp hippo, Brian the camp giraffe, the visiting gennets and bush babies at dinner; and even the toilet bats and geckos!

Food was variable - some was excellent and up to restaurant standards, other meals not so good, particularly a steak that was very rare and tough. Bush breakfasts not up to standard of other lodges we have stayed at - cold sausages and bacon and quite stale bread, but plenty of cereal and fruit (though fruit was very repetitive). Biscuits before game drives were poor - small and very plain. Not sufficient to keep you going from 6.30 until 10am! We were also disappointed that there were no sundowners - we have always had these on similar trips. We did get champagne on the first night, which was lovely, but nothing on other nights. We would have been happy to pay for a couple of beers to take with us, but nothing like this was offered. We also weren't keen on the way water was provided on the drives. The guide took a flask and you had to ask for the water and then drink from a cup. But water was provided in the room so we refilled water bottles from the plane and took these instead. Other lodges we have stayed at have provided refillable bottles, which are more convenient but still avoid the need for countless plastic bottles.

Guide/driver (Ezra/Rajabu) were excellent and we had some great sightings - still remains a mystery how they spot leopards hidden in trees that we struggle to see even when pointed out! Walking safari was really interesting and boat safaris really relaxing - particularly enjoyed the last night. Our waiter was also really sweet (sorry - can't remember his name!).

Seemed a very early drive to the airstrip - we had to wait an hour for the plane. Couldn't see the necessity for going this early, as the facilities are basic (and the toilet not terribly pleasant!) I'm also quite a nervous flyer so having to sit and wait for an hour for the plane didn't help my nerves!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Facilities
Good
Shooting Star Lodge

Shooting Star Lodge

"Shooting Star Lodge review"

4 nights Arrived 11 Oct 2012
"Lovely relaxed lodge. Having the Kusi suite really made the stay for us. It was lovely having the privacy of our own pool (which was bigger than it looked in photos) and the roof terrace was lovely in the evenings to watch the sunset. We had a rooftop bath every night!

The beach bar was a lovely place to have a (very) leisurely lunch. Lovely when the tide was in and really interesting when the tide was out (watching the ladies gathering sea weed, etc).

Food was variable, some very good, some average to poor. Service also very variable. One night dinner was over very quickly, while on another it went on very late, as we weren't called to the tables for at least half an hour and then it was very slow. Last morning's breakfast was also very slow. I got very badly bitten on the first night sitting on the sand, presumably by sand flies. It would have been good to be warned about this, though other guests seemed unaffected, so maybe I'm just particularly tasty! The bites had gone by the next day, but put us off sitting on the sand. Cocktails and wine very pricy, so we mostly stuck to beer.

We have read complaints on Tripadvisor about the cats being present at meal times, but we thought this was lovely The cats weren't a nuisance, but very sweet and endearing.

Spa treatments were good and very cheap compared to UK prices.

We wanted to pay the bill by card, but the machine failed with both our cards, so we had to pay cash and then try and find an ATM in Stone Town and use a credit card to get cash, which wasn't ideal.

The only thing that slightly marred our stay was the noise from the hotel next door (VERY loud music in the evenings at the weekend, that could be clearly heard from our roof), though this just emphasised how lovely and quiet and laid back Shooting Star is.

Our suite was very clean and the pool was kept really clean and cleared out early each morning ready for us to use as soon as breakfast was done. We were also able to stay in the suite until we were picked up at 2pm, which was really nice (there was no one booked in that night). There were a few power cuts while we were there but the generator cut in after a few minutes max. The hairdryer and torch in the suite didn't work when we arrived (the hairdyer had melted, which was quite worrying!), but were both replaced immediately on request. Loads of English sockets so really easy to charge everything."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Average
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Beyt al Salaam

Beyt al Salaam

"Beyt al Chai review"

2 nights Arrived 15 Oct 2012
"Lovely characterful hotel in a good spot - short walk to shops/seafront, etc. Staff generally very helpful. We asked about a sunset dhow trip and they called a guide to come to the hotel within five minutes who immediately organised this for us, then took us out to find an ATM (which he did at the second attempt, though we met some other tourists that had tried several with no success!) He also organised a city tour for the next day and then came back and met us and walked us to the meeting point for the dhow.

Restaurant food quite good for dinner, but service poor. Breakfast very poor. Took 40 minutes to serve two bowls of cereal and two omlettes. Never got the cookies and muffins we ordered. (There was only one other guest). Breakfast tray on last morning arrived five minutes before we were picked up and was stale bread and butter and very wet fruit so we had to wait until Dar to get breakfast.

Main problem was no water on first morning. We were told it would be back in 30 minutes, then another 10 minutes, etc. We asked for bottled water to at least wash and were given one bottle between us. Didn't seem to be any contingency or understanding that this was quite a major problem. Our toilet was quite unpleasant! Water did eventually come back on but too late to shower before our city tour. Not ideal in a very hot climate."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Facilities
Average

Trip as a whole

Namibia between 29 Sep 2010 and 16 Oct 2010

Trip rating: Good
"Some gripes but overall a great holiday with lots of highlights (Ongava lions at waterhole, Etosha, Skeleton Coast, Sossuvlei, Swakopmund, kayaking with seals).

Not sure we could always see where our £6500.00 went, especially compared with similar trips. Luckily we had a great group - not sure we would have enjoyed as much if we had been with some of the other people we met along the way!"

Arranged By Sabina Hekandjo


Olive Grove

Olive Grove

"Olive Grove Review"

1 night Arrived 30 Sep 2010
"Very good breakfast. Best of holiday. Very friendly service.

Downside is design of guest house with rooms next door to dining area. Not good if you need an early night, following a 22 hour journey from UK."
Good
Location
Average
Service
Good
Rooms
Average
Food
Good
Image alt

Remote Nam safari

"Remote Namibia Safari"

12 nights Arrived 1 Oct 2010
"A good introduction to Namibia. Food was very repetitive and not always of the standard that we would expect for the cost of the holiday (e.g. chicken drumsticks rather than breast, stale cereal/bread, cold jacket potatoes). Guide very knowledgeable and full of interesting facts and tales. Went through itinerary every day and ensured that everyone knew what was happening and when, meeting times, etc.

Drives were occasionally too long without a break and sometimes a bit too fast on the bumpier roads. Vehicle was also not very well maintained - some windows did not open or close, causing discomfort and difficulty in taking photos. Also no arm/headrests, so not terribly comfortable on longer drives. Luckily our group was only six, but would have been quite uncomfortable with eight.

At Sossuvlei guide didn't explain fully where to meet if we gave up on climbing the dune, so I missed the chance to spend time at Dead Vlei; and had a minor panic when I couldn't find the car! Also dismissed request to visit petrified forest, even though it was shown as a possibility in the itinerary, as it was too far out of the way.

Itinerary not always terribly accurate - for example Ongava was shown as morning/evening game drives in an open vehicle, but was actually an all day drive in the Landrover, which people found too much with the high temperature and closed vehicle.

Biggest disappointment was Skeleton Coast Research Camp. We feel that this was massively missold by Expert Africa and Wilderness Safaris. Nowhere in your brochure or in Wilderness Safaris' leaflet does it state that there are actually two camps, so we and other guests believed we were in the main camp, which was one of the reasons for booking the holiday.

The research camp was very basic, very cold (two jumpers and a coat required for dinner) and we had no lights on the first night, as they had not charged the battery. Water also ran out/ran cold. You really should make your guests aware of where they are staying, as this may well affect whether they choose this holiday/company or another. It is rather too late when you are already half way through the holiday to find out that you are stuck in an inferior camp. This is a real shame as the Skeleton Coast day was one of the highlights of the holiday, but was marred by returning to cold rooms with little hot water."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Facilities
Good
Kayaking with seals

Kayaking with seals

"Kayaking at Pelican Point"

4 Oct 2010 • Morning excursion

Woke up to horrible cold weather in Swakopmund and really didn't want to go kayaking. Even worse when we got out of the car at the beach to freezing force ten gale! But Jeanne had plenty of warm clothing, waterproof shoes and even woolly hats, so we were warm and toasty while in the kayaks. Lovely gentle pace, plenty of time to take in the frolicking seals and got really close to the colonies.

The drive to the beach was also a real highlight - Jeanne was really informative and pointed out loads of interesting sights.

This trip came highly recommended and fully met expectations.
Excellent
Okonjima Plains Camp

Okonjima Plains Camp

"Okonjima Main Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 13 Oct 2010
"Didn't really receive much information about Africat, which we would have expected, and was one of the main reasons for visiting.

Shop was often closed during opening hours. Room was lovely - light, spacious, lovely view, good bathrooom.

Electrics poor. Couldn't get a hairdryer that worked and struggled to find a socket where the mosquito machine worked.

Nice having same guide for duration of stay."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Average
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Facilities
Good

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