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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs G from Michigan

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

5

Countries visited

3

Lodges stayed in

22

Excursions taken

0

Our 5th safari

Tanzania between 12 Sep 2019 and 29 Sep 2019

Trip rating: Excellent
"We have used Expert Africa for all of our trips and have never been disappointed. They provide expert guidance on chosing camps that suit us, as they know the types of camps and locations that we will enjoy. They have often given us new places to consider and their recommendations have been excellent.

A traveler should keep in mind that animals move about and you can't be assured of finding everything in one area. On this trip, we traveled to the eastern Serengeti and to Ruaha and the Selous in the south in order to find a variety -- more lions in one area, more elephants in another, for example. We had excellent sightings in each area."

Airport Planet Lodge

Airport Planet Lodge

"A quick stay after a long flight"

1 night Arrived 13 Sep 2019
"We were so happy to find the Airport Planet Lodge located so close to the airport after our long flights from the US.

We enjoyed a late dinner and a great sleep before leaving the next morning to begin our safari. The staff was gracious and welcoming, and the pool and fitness room would have been wonderful if we had time to enjoy them.

It was a great place to begin our travels."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Namiri Plains Camp

Namiri Plains Camp

"Glamour in the Serengeti"

4 nights Arrived 14 Sep 2019
"We were delighted to discover that Namiri Plains had moved into their new camp just a few weeks before we arrived. The new bandas and lodge have a spacious, modern design ethic that took some time to get used to. It certainly doesn't have a traditional safari camp design, but the almost other-worldly appearance of the tents grew on us. Our banda had three rock walls and a screened fourth side that provided a private unobstructed view of the marsh.

The room was huge, and the well-lit bathroom had a large glass-walled shower plus an outdoor soaking bathtub. The room had a small refrigerator stocked with beverages, comfortable chairs, ample storage for clothing, a desk with charging station, and even a hair dryer. The lighting throughout was excellent. Besides the soaking tub, the deck had two lounges and a table and chairs.

Lunch was an excellent buffet provided individually at each table, with a variety of fresh salads and entrees. Dinner was served communally, but also presented as a buffet on the dining table. The guests gathered for cocktails in the lounge or around the campfire before dinner each evening. Game drives sometimes lasted so long that we went straight to lunch or dinner without going to our rooms first.

The two managers, Baracka and Brian, and our guide Manja were so gracious, welcoming, and knowledgeable.The game drives were excellent and we were able to find sightings of both cheetah and lions as well as many other species. The landscape is mostly vast expanses of open plains -- sometimes filled with gazelles, other times quiet. Because Namiri Plains is located in a remote east sector of the Serengeti, it is usually uncrowded. We did several game drives without seeing any cars from other camps -- heavenly!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Ikuka

Ikuka

"High on a hill"

5 nights Arrived 18 Sep 2019
"We were thrilled to be met at the airstrip by our favorite guide, Festo. He had been our guide 5 years ago at a different camp. We love his vast knowledge and passion for the wildlife, as well as his humor. We headed up the hill to spectacular views from the lodge and our room.

The banda was spacious and had plenty of storage, and the deck offered complete privacy. There was a deep plunge pool, but found it a little too chilly to enjoy. The lighting wasn't bright enough in the evening for reading, but we kept so busy that there really wasn't time to read. While the banda was fully open during the day, at night they zip down a tent around the bed. To use the bathroom at night, one had to unzip the tent opening and navigate a step to reach it.

Food was good and plentiful. Lunch was a buffet of delicious salads and hot entrees. The communal dinner was served plated, and a manager and at least one guide joined the guests each evening. The open bar had a list of interesting craft cocktails available.

Wildlife sightings were memorable! We watched elephants chasing lions, a leopard trapped in a tree with his impala kill by a group of lions waiting on the ground below, lions feasting on zebra, buffalo, and giraffe. Birders would enjoy the sightings of Giant Eagle owls that our guide found several times.

This was our second visit to Ruaha, and we enjoy it because of the lack of crowds and great wildlife."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Beho Beho

Beho Beho

"A return to a favorite camp"

5 nights Arrived 23 Sep 2019
"In five safaris, Beho Beho is the first camp that we have visited more than once. We loved it when we were here 5 years ago, and we were delighted to find that they have maintained the same standard. They even improved it with the addition of private plunge pools at each banda.

While Beho Beho is in a remote setting in the Selous, we enjoy having an airstrip only a 5-minute drive away from camp. One rarely sees cars from other camps, so the game viewing is essentially private. The camp is luxurious but very comfortable. They serve delicious lunches and dinners in a variety of settings and the tables are always beautifully set. The bandas are so spacious that they have a variety of places for lounging, and the addition of a walled patio with chaises and plunge pools makes it a place that's hard to leave.

While we saw fewer lions on this trip than we had in the past, we were delighted to watch them up close one morning as the 11-member Beho Beho pride greeted us from the camp's watering hole. Giraffes, elephants, and hyenas were found frequently, as were a host of crocodiles and hippos at Lake Tagalala and Lake Manze. We did one walking trek which found us dodging elephants to try to get to the riverbank for our sundowners.

This is a stunning camp with equally stunning food and service. We'd love to go back again for visit #3!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

Our fourth safari

Kenya between 5 Sep 2016 and 20 Sep 2016

Trip rating: Excellent
"Expert Africa has helped us plan all four of our trips to Africa and we couldn't be happier.

The staff there has such intimate knowledge of the camps that they are able to offer us wonderful advice. They know what we value most and have the background to know how to guide us to places that we will enjoy.

This was a trip that took us to some new regions of Kenya and we enjoyed the variety of environments that we experienced. Thank you, Ellie, for helping us plan another amazing adventure!"

Ole-Sereni

Ole-Sereni

"Good choice near airports"

1 night Arrived 6 Sep 2016
"We spent one night at Ole-Sereni after our long international flights. Our welcome was gracious and the room very comfortable. We enjoyed a good night's sleep followed by an ample buffet breakfast before departing for our first bush camp.

We also visited Ole Sereni at the end of our journey before departing for home. We were welcomed to the dining room by a waiter who recognized us from our dining room breakfast visit over two weeks earlier -- a nice touch! We dined on the deck, choosing from the a la carte menu rather than the large buffet and found the portions very generous. We relaxed in their comfortable lobby chairs before leaving for JKIA."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Porini Amboseli Camp

Porini Amboseli Camp

"Amazing elephants"

4 nights Arrived 7 Sep 2016
"Our visit to Porini Amboseli began with a sighting of a cheetah leading her two cubs to dine on an impala -- a thrilling start to our 4 days there. Wildlife was plentiful, especially around the waterholes that have viewing stands. We enjoyed seeing many elephants, lions, and had our first sighting of the gerenuk, a gazelle that stands on tiptoe to feed in the trees. The area is uncrowded, and we saw few other cars on our game drives.

The camp itself was uncrowded during our visit and we were indeed the only guests one night. Because of that, we were able to have a private car with two guides for each drive. Both of the guides were Maasai from the Mara and had only been in the Amboseli area a short time.

The visit to the national park was probably worthwhile to see the lunar-like landscape and dust devils, but it makes a very long day and of course doesn't allow for driving off road for closer animal sightings. We did enjoy seeing the marsh area, but in the main we wished we had stayed in the Selenkay conservancy for the day.

The camp tents are adequate but not luxurious. The lighting could be improved, and our bucket shower provided plenty of hot water but at a trickle. The food was good, but not exceptional and the staff was gracious and friendly. We chose the Porini camp because of the emphasis placed on Maasai culture, but we didn't find the experience any different than what we experienced at the other Kenya camps we visited where the staff is almost exclusively Maasai. We did the village visit, which was interesting and thankfully non-commercial. But visits of that sort with lots of picture-taking and no ability to communicate with the residents are always a bit awkward.

In general, we had excellent wildlife sightings and good guides, but didn't feel like this camp was one we would return to."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Kicheche Laikipia

Kicheche Laikipia

"Awesome tents!"

5 nights Arrived 11 Sep 2016
"This was our first stay at a Kicheche camp and we were certainly not disappointed. The trip in from the Nanyuki airstrip is not long, and we were initially concerned that it would feel too close to town and not feel like we were in the wilderness. However, once we arrived at the camp, its setting feels remote and uncrowded. Managers Andy and Sonja are gracious and welcoming and we thoroughly enjoyed dining with them at each meal. Sonja always joined us for lunch outdoors overlooking the waterhole, and Andy joined the guests each evening for dinner.

The tents are luxurious, with great lighting and ample hot water supplied even though the camp is very eco-friendly and runs on solar power. The charging station for our batteries is located in the lovely dining tent. The staff was attentive and helpful, and even the askari who escorted us to and from our tents after dark greeted us by name and asked after our welfare whenever we saw them. The camp does have an electric wire fence around it to keep the large game out, but we nevertheless needed guards to accompany us in the evening.

The food was wonderful, fresh, and plentiful and I'm sure that we gained weight during our stay. Sonja is responsible for the menus, and even has published a cookbook of some of the camp favorites. It was hard to pass up the delicious desserts that were served at both lunch and dinner! A variety of wines were offered each day, and we know that the kitchen is able to accommodate special dietary needs.

We stayed five nights and had Peter as our guide each day. He was quite new to this camp, but did a great job of finding wonderful things to see and we never felt crowded. In the Ol Pejeta area, the wildlife is not as plentiful as in some other areas we have visited, so the guides must work harder to find it. But our patience was amply rewarded with great sightings of cheetah, lions, giraffe, and of course, rhinos.

Rhino viewing is amazing in the Ol Pejeta area. We saw both Southern white and black rhinos, and visited the conservancy headquarters to see the few remaining Northern whites and heard the story of their attempts to save them from extinction. We did a morning walk there with a ranger, and then returned another day to see how they train the team of search and attack dogs that defend against poachers. We had the fun experience of hiding in the bush and being tracked by a bloodhound to demonstrate his searching skills to us.

We enjoyed this camp very much and highly recommend it."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kicheche Bush Camp

Kicheche Bush Camp

"We hope to return!"

4 nights Arrived 16 Sep 2016
"One of the things that attracted us to Kicheche Bush Camp was reading about how many of their guests are repeat visitors -- they must be doing something right! After spending 4 nights there recently, we would have to agree and we hope that someday we will be able to join the ranks of repeat guests. They just seem to do everything to make a wonderful experience for their guests.

We enjoyed a warm welcome from managers Darren and Emma and their exuberant new puppy Frankie. Their presence in camp, including joining us at meals, made us feel a part of the bush camp family. The camp offers some of the best food we have ever had on our four safaris. It was fresh, varied, and absolutely delicious -- especially the variety of breads that they offered at each meal. They offered an updated take on safari meals, including made-to-order pizza for lunch one day and the Kenyan tradition of Indian curry for Sunday supper.

Our wonderful guide Nelson consistently found amazing things for us to view on our game drives. We watched lots of lions, lion cubs, leopards, cheetah, and hundreds of thousands of wildebeest who were staying in the area because the rains brought ample green grass. He even spotted an aardwolf twice in the daytime, and a caracal (which unfortunately hid in the grass to avoid being photographed.) A special memory was an afternoon drive to a hyena den to watch the young ones play. What an unexpected delight to discover that hyenas can actually be adorable! We chose not to spend a day driving to the Maasai Mara Reserve because the wildlife was so abundant in the conservancy. Nelson was always very skilled at positioning our vehicle for optimal photography, including some amazing sunset opportunities.

The only negative thing that we found was that because of the presence of several other camps in the conservancy, there were times when the game viewing felt a bit crowded. That occurred primarily when finding leopards with their kills, so it was easy to understand why everyone wanted to be there. But we could often find other animals on the hunt with no one else around, so it definitely did not spoil our experience there.

Overall, this is one of the best camps we have ever visited and we recommend it highly."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

Our 3rd safari

Tanzania and 1 other country between 24 Aug 2014 and 9 Sep 2014

Trip rating: Excellent
"Once again Expert Africa has helped us plan a superior holiday. As we have more experience with safari travel, they have helped us zero in on those camps that fulfill our wants.

We enjoy small, intimate camps with great managers and varied activities and the Expert Africa staff has done a great job of guiding us to the right locations. Two of the camps on this trip are owned by Asilia and we recommend them highly. It seems that Asilia does a great job of allowing each of their camps to have its own distinct personality, while providing the staff and management with excellent training opportunities. The third camp we visited on this trip was independently owned and was equally spectacular.

A big thank you to Claire Scott and Richard Trillo, with an occasional assist from Eleanor Dunkels, too!

We look forward to working with you again when we plan our next trip."

Arranged By Claire Scott


Serena Hotel Dar

Serena Hotel Dar

"A very short stay"

1 night Arrived 24 Aug 2014
"We arrived late at night after long flights from the US via Amsterdam and were happy to have a lovely hotel room waiting for us.

The room certainly met our expectations, and after a quick shower we fell asleep without dining. We enjoyed the included breakfast buffet and left the hotel by 7:30 a.m. so had no time to utilize its facilities. We wished that there had been a comparable hotel nearer the airport, but apparently this is the best option even for a short stay."
Excellent
Location
Good
Food
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Kwihala Camp

Kwihala Camp

"A great start to our safari"

4 nights Arrived 25 Aug 2014
"Kwihala Camp was a great spot to begin our third safari. It is a very friendly, welcoming camp that seems to be blossoming under Asilia management. The Ruaha landscape is varied, and the animals were plentiful. Our guide Festo maximized the hours spent on our game drives, sharing his vast expertise and love of the animals and the land.

The tents at Kwihala are large, comfortable, and spotless. The bucket showers had plenty of hot water. Drinking water is provided in reusable containers rather than throwaway plastic bottles. The food was very good and included a wide variety of dishes. Fresh vegetables and salads were plentiful. Campfires each evening always included special hors d'ouevres, followed by dinner under the stars. Those who were served vegetarian meals said that they were excellent. A special birthday was marked with a celebration including champagne and a cake carried in by singing, dancing waiters. It was a real treat!

The manager Sandy was attentive and caring. We noted that she seemed to be well respected by the staff. The guides mentioned that they believe the camp has improved in many ways since the change to Asilia management last May. They especially like the increased training opportunities, so it seems to have certainly been a change for the better.

Since Ruaha is one of the less-populated tourist areas of Tanzania, we were surprised to find vehicles from several other camps as we did our game drives. But it never felt crowded (with the exception of one leopard sighting which drew about 5 cars)."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Beho Beho

Beho Beho

"Fabulous Beho Beho"

5 nights Arrived 29 Aug 2014
"It was delightful to arrive at the Beho Beho airstrip and have only a two-minute drive to camp! We arrived in time for lunch, the first of our wonderful meals at there. The food was the best we have had in any camp, and rivaled that of any fine resort or restaurant. The tables were beautifully set in several varied locations -- poolside, in Bailey's Banda, in the overlook, etc. Lunches were usually served buffet style with many choices, and dinners were more formally served. The guests were always joined by one of the managers and some of the guides at each meal.

The bandas are spacious and beautifully appointed. The large bathroom and open air shower had hot water always available. A safe is provided for valuables and a wooden box is supplied for keeping soaps, medicines, and lotions out of the hands of the squirrels who like to drop in. The dressing area has lots of shelves and a large bench. A universal charging strip is provided in each room. The room is open to the view, and the resident geckos make short work of any insect who dares to come in. A telescope is set to enhance game-viewing from your room. Numerous lounges and comfy chairs make relaxing there such a pleasure. And the swimming pool was cool and refreshing.

Beho Beho provides a wide variety of activities, and makes it possible for each guest to choose how to occupy their day. We did several game drives, two walking treks, and the enjoyable drive to Lake Tagalala for the pontoon boat trip and breakfast on the beach. We also stopped at the hot springs for a dip on the way back to camp. The trip to the lake provides the opportunity to see crocodiles, hippos, and plentiful birds.

We enjoyed the rotation of guides at Beho Beho, which gave us the opportunity to learn from their varied backgrounds and expertise. The manager and assistant manager also participate as guides. We had wonderful sightings of lions at play, and watched them for hours without seeing another vehicle. Because of its remote location, it is rare to see more than one other car each day.

This was one of our best safari experiences ever!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Giraffe Manor

Giraffe Manor

"A unique experience"

2 nights Arrived 3 Sep 2014
"We arrived at Giraffe Manor on an unexpectedly cool and damp day. We were given a tour of the lovely manor house and shown to our room. The "Daisy" room was very petite, but had a lovely terrace which we were unable to use because of the rain. We understand that most of the other rooms are larger, but Daisy was the only one that was available for both nights of our stay. The Manor has a lovely gift shop with reasonably priced items. We did not utilize the spa facilities.

The staff was very cordial and welcoming, helping us plan activities for our stay with them and suggesting appropriate timing for touring various places. Their driver was available to take us where we wanted to tour in the area. The highlights of our stay were a morning tour of the Kazuri Bead workshop -- the process is interesting, and the jewelry makes wonderful gifts -- and a delightful visit to the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. We highly recommend both places. We were escorted to the Giraffe Centre and given a tour of the nature walk by one of their guides, and then fed the one giraffe who approached the viewing platform. A brief visit there was sufficient, as we were not offered the opportunity to do any other activity other than go to their gift shop.

Feeding the giraffes at breakfast was a fun and unique experience. Due to the rainy weather during our stay, the staff had trouble coaxing the giraffes to come out of the trees to the windows for their treats, but finally were successful in enticing two of them to entertain us.

The food was excellent. On one night dinner was served at individual tables, and on the other night it was served to all the guests at a communal table. We wished that the manager or another staff member had dined with us as they usually do at bush camps.

Giraffe Manor provided a great break in our travels among safari camps."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Naboisho Camp

Naboisho Camp

"Wonderful Naboisho Camp"

5 nights Arrived 5 Sep 2014
"Naboisho was one of our favorites!. It had everything we could want in a safari camp -- great game viewing, luxury tents, wonderful managers Helen and Roelof and their guides and staff, excellent food, and more.

The tents are spacious with luxury linens and plenty of storage in the dressing area. We enjoyed the twin bucket showers outside as well as as one indoors. At night we appreciated the hot water bottles tucked into our bed, as well as those in the car on the early morning game drives. The food was excellent, with a fresh and varied buffet each day for lunch. Dinner was served at a large communal table with the managers joining the guests (at all three meals). Manager Helen stocks their excellent gift shop with locally made goods.

We had good game viewing, both on our drives and on two walks with manager Roelof. Roelof gave us a rare opportunity to view a baby eagle from a vantage point on the hillside above its nest, and we also were close to zebra and hyenas on one of our walks. We had great sightings of big cats, including some very playful lion cubs and a pair of cheetah resting in the grass. The landscape was beautiful and green, and the sunsets and full moonrise were spectacular. We would return to Naboisho any time!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

My Sep 2012 trip

Zambia between 9 Sep 2012 and 22 Sep 2012

Trip rating: Excellent
"This was our second Expert Africa safari, and we are as happy with the planning and service as we were on our first trip. We think that you have the best website and brochure available anywhere, and it makes the planning process much easier.

We initially had difficulty deciding whether to go to Botswana or Zambia, so when we called to discuss the differences we were connected with Chris McIntyre. Chris spent almost an hour on the telephone with us discussing the merits of each country, and thoroughly explaining the differences between the safari experiences in them. When we got off the phone, we were both captivated by the idea of travel in Zambia because of the possibility of walking treks with well-trained guides.

From there, Claire Scott became our contact and helped us decide which camps best suited our wishes. Her recommendations were perfect!

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

Only one minor thing...... Since we were visiting Victoria Falls in September at a time when the river flow is low, we wish that we had been advised that the viewing is better from Zimbabwe. We would have arranged for a 2-entry Zambian visa and allotted time to cross the border"

Arranged By Claire Scott


Sindabezi

Sindabezi

"Great start at Sindabezi"

3 nights Arrived 10 Sep 2012
"Sindabezi was the first stop on our holiday in Zambia and gave us a great, relaxing start to the trip. Reading and naps in the "treehouse" were especially welcome. We really enjoyed the quiet intimate atmosphere of the tiny island. Communal dining with the other guests was always enjoyable. While we did enjoy the remote atmosphere, we found that being a boat ride away from the mainland made it a bit more complicated to engage in activities. I became ill one day, and the staff was very attentive and helpful.

We did the day trip to Victoria Falls, and at the urging of some of the other guests, we did the extra excursion to Livingstone Island and the Devil's Pool. We wished that we had been warned in advance that the best viewing of the waterfall during the dry season is on the Zimbabwe side of the falls. While the falls were still lovely from the Zambian side, those guests who crossed the border found them to be much more spectacular."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Tafika

Tafika

"Tafika review"

4 nights Arrived 13 Sep 2012
"It is a long journey to arrive at the remote Tafika Camp, but it is well worth the travel. The lodging, the hosts, the guiding, the activities -- all were superb!

We thoroughly enjoyed the family atmosphere at Tafika. Owner/hosts John and Carol and their staff make you feel welcome in every way. When there were enough guests to fill two tables at lunch or dinner, they directed you to a table to be sure that the guests got to meet and mingle with all the others. And having the hosts and the guides join us at meals always led to lively and interesting discussions. We especially enjoyed talking with Lloyd about his experiences in taking the guide licensing exams -- what a process!

The food was delicious and reflected the products of their bountiful garden. And the cakes and puddings were divine! The rooms are large and comfortable, and once you get used to the presence of the little tree frogs, you will find them a delightful surprise at times. Check your bags thoroughly before leaving so that you don't transport one home.

We had never experienced good night drives until we arrived at Tafika. What a great experience they were there! We watched leopards and lions hunting, and twice saw hyenas enjoying the fruits of the labor of the leopards' hunt. We felt like we were in a Nat Geo documentary as we watched and listened to the hyenas fight over the antelope carcass while the poor leopard and her cub dined on nothing but scraps.

We enjoyed having a variety of guides, and gained from their own perspectives and stories. We did our first walking trek with Bryan, and while we saw many things up close that you would miss in a vehicle, we weren't successful in finding many animals. We realized that it is variable -- sometimes you will see animals at close range, and other times you will only find tracks.

A highlight for each of us was the microlight flight with John. What a thrill to glide over the animals just after daybreak. The motion of the aircraft makes it hard to get good photos, but the scenes are etched into our memories."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Old Mondoro Bushcamp

Old Mondoro Bushcamp

"Old Mondoro Bushcamp review"

2 nights Arrived 17 Sep 2012
"Our stay at Old Mondoro was only two nights, but we wish we could have stayed longer. The hosts Kayla and Jason make this tiny 4-chalet camp feel like home. We always felt safe, even with elephants and buffalo wandering through the camp all day, because they kept a careful eye out and even drove us the short distance to our chalets when there were animal visitors about. Elephants wandering by your chalet or the dining area create great photo ops!

Kayla did a wonderful job of planning the menus (she does the planning for Chiawa Camp also), and the food was varied and delicious. The guides and hosts join us for all the meals, which leads to great conversation. The rooms are well appointed, and we were happy to have a charging station in our room for the camera batteries. And hot water on demand is always appreciated. Sitting on the deck outside our room was a great way to relax, with the ever-changing river so close at hand.

We enjoyed the variety of activities offered, even though we only did game drives with Morat and the pontoon cruises. We saw no lions while we were there, but Morat found a great leopard sighting for us on our last morning drive."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Chiawa Camp

Chiawa Camp

"Chiawa Camp review"

3 nights Arrived 19 Sep 2012
"After being at camps with 4, 5, and 6 chalets, we were initially overwhelmed by the size of Chiawa Camp. Nine tents! We were prepared to not like the bustling atmosphere, but our fears were quickly allayed by the professionalism of the staff. They do an incredible job of scheduling activities that suit each guest. When we arrived, they asked what we would like to do or see. We told them that we hadn't yet had our fill of lion sightings, so after unpacking our bags they had us get in the car and we drove an hour to find a pride of sleeping lions. After a few photos, we left to have our sundowners by a lagoon and then returned to watch the lions wake and greet each other affectionately. What a marvelous start to our stay in camp.

The variety of experiences available makes it possible for each guest to find a suitable activity. We did one walking trek with guide Paul, and it was a highlight of our trip. Seeing elephants and lions while on foot is a thrill not to be missed. The canoe excursion one afternoon was likewise exciting. And even the pontoon boat got us very close to elephants and crocs. And we both tried our hand at fishing, succeeding in getting a few nibbles but no catches.

The food was delicious, and we enjoyed the communal dining in this camp as we did at all the smaller camps we had visited. A large bull elephant invited himself to dinner one evening, approaching the dining area and standing a couple of meters away from us while we sat holding our breath and not moving. If only there had been a way to take pictures (without sending him into a panic), but the memory of watching that huge dark shape in the night will always remain. A surprise "bush dinner" on our last night gave us the opportunity to try a few Zambian dishes as well as the regular fare.

When our friends ask if we were frightened by those "up close and personal" encounters with elephants, lions and leopards, we assure them that while it is exhilarating, we always felt that our safety was the first priority of the staff and that they were very capable of keeping us from harm.

The regular camp manager was away while we visited, but Acting Manager Samantha did a wonderful job of keeping things running smoothly. She was ably assisted by Joshua and Daniel and all the other staff."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

Tanzania comments

Tanzania between 9 Oct 2010 and 23 Oct 2010

Trip rating: Excellent
"It exceeded our expectations! Our trip was absolutely wonderful. The planning was flawless, and every detail was taken care of.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

A little more guidance on tipping would be helpful. While we asked for and received specific guidelines on amounts for the staff and the drivers, we were unaware until we arrived that separate (and fairly substantial) tips for butlers and trackers were also expected. We had calculated our expected total cash needs, and then doubled that figure when planning how much money to take, and we were glad to have the excess with us. Your notes to travellers could indicate that in some camps, these additional staff members may also be deserving of tips."

Onsea House

Onsea House

"Onsea House review"

2 nights Arrived 10 Oct 2010
"We loved having a small, quiet place to relax on our first day in Tanzania. The hosts were gracious and friendly, and we were happy to find a computer available for our use. The pool and lawn area is lovely, but too far to walk to in our jet-lagged state so we didn't use it."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Olakira

Olakira

"Olakira Camp review"

3 nights Arrived 12 Oct 2010
"This was our first trip to Africa, and our first safari camp. What a delightful introduction to our trip! We were met at the airstrip by our guide Fadhil and immediately began our first game drive through thousands of wildebeest. Arriving at camp in time for lunch, we sat in the open-sided tent and watched elephants grazing nearby.

The tents were lovely and spacious with a luxurious bed. The lights were adequate for evenings, but not strong enough to read by. The bathroom was large and we were delighted to have a flush toilet. They filled the bucket shower with plenty of hot water for both of us. We loved the nights there, even though we were awakened on our first night by a loud noise just ourside our tent. We could have used our walkie-talkie to call for help, but we decided to be brave and trust that there was nothing to be afraid of. We learned in the morning that it was a hippo passing through camp. What a first night's experience! We soon loved to hear the sounds of the night and missed those beautiful bird and animal sounds when we left Olakira.


We enjoyed having the open Land Rover to ourselves for the drives with Fadhil each day. We quickly learned to trust that he would find the most interesting things for us to see on each drive -- cheetahs, a large pride of lions, and even one of the elusive rhinos. The landscape is beautiful and varied, as is the wildlife. We saw amazing things, including two wildebeest river crossings and also watched a lioness kill one of those wildebeests as he emerged from the river. The camp staff was always there to greet us with a hot towel and wanted to hear the details of our drives.

We were happy to experience the evening campfires and communal dining at Olakira. We met interesting people each night to share stories with. We rated the food as excellent -- for a tented camp setting. It wasn't quite the same gourmet level as the food at the other permanent camps we visited, but we felt that they did a wonderful job preparing good food in a tent setting. Breakfast was varied, with a cold buffet each morning and hot food to order.

Olakira camp exceeded our expectations and is the camp that we will always remember."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kleins Camp

Kleins Camp

"Klein's Camp safari"

4 nights Arrived 15 Oct 2010
"Because the Klein's airstrip was temporarily closed, we began our stay by landing at the Lobo airstrip and driving through the national park to reach Klein's Gate. While landing at Klein's would have saved time, we nevertheless had an enjoyable drive through large herds of zebra to reach the camp. We were welcomed by the entire staff and escorted to their beautiful bar with a panoramic view of the Klein's Concession.

The view was just as spectacular from the porch and windows of our large room. We appreciated the ample storage space, comfortable chairs and reading light, luxurious bed and pillows, and bathroom amenities. If we had any artistic talent, we would have made use of the art supplies that are available in the room.

Askari escort you in the early morning and the evening as you walk to and from your room, but the times for your guard to arrive must be set up in advance as there is no telephone or walkie-talkie to call them. Of course, there is a whistle and even an air horn if an emergency exists. You are assigned a butler who makes those arrangements, serves you in the dining room, and takes care of any needs you have. Our butler Robert was gracious and easy to talk with.

The food was wonderful and beautifully presented. Second helpings were always offered, even though we rarely had room to eat more. On two occasions we went on early morning game drives, leaving camp at 6:30 a.m.. Our guide Alex and tracker Leboo prepared delicious meals in the bush, setting up two grills and preparing beverages, toast, bacon, sausage, and eggs to order. What a feast! In the evening, our game drives also included a stop to prepare cocktails and watch the sunset before switching on the lights for a night drive back to camp.

One evening we were surprised by an unannounced dinner in the bush -- we were told that the dining room was closed and that we had to get in the car. We arrived at a torch-lit site with a blazing fire in the center, rimmed by dining tables and barbecue grills. We had a delicious meal beautifully served in a romantic setting.

On our last day, we had requested a visit to a Maasai village. We began with a game drive, and then journeyed across the river to a local village to visit one boma. While Klein's has an arrangement with the Maasai that they may bring guests for tours, they do not make specific arrangements for each visit. Therefore, you will see village life as it is really happening rather than a staged performance. In our case, all of the men we out tending the cattle, leaving only a few women and the children behind. We entered one dung hut with our guide Alex who described life there for us. Our tracker Leboo spoke the Maa language, so his help was invaluable to us when we came out of the hut and found that the women had arranged blankets full of jewelry and other goods for us to buy. We were asked to pay $50 in cash directly to the Maasai girl who allowed us in to her hut, and then used more cash to make a few purchases.

While we missed seeing the Maasai ceremonial performances in the village, as some camps arrange, we had had the opportunity to see the Maasai "jumping dance" the previous night during some surprise entertainment at dinner in the camp. So we felt like we got the best of both aspects -- seeing the ceremony and traditional costumes, but also seeing the real daily life in the village. We had booked 4 nights at Klein's Camp so that we would have time for the Maasai visit, but since the village is so close and the visit there is integrated into the morning game drive, we could have easily done it in a 3-night stay.

We had the same guide and tracker for each of our game drives. Guide Alex was interesting and informative and helped us understand the animal behavior and environment. We usually shared the open Land Cruiser with one or two other couples. The variety of game was good, with large herds of cape buffalo and zebra, and we had our first sightings of leopards there. One fun sighting was of a hartebeest being stalked by a leopard, who was in turn chased up a tree by a lioness. Our guide and tracker were delighted by it, saying that it was something you rarely see happen.

Klein's Camp is a wonderful place to stay -- great staff, great accommodations, and great game viewing. We highly recommend it."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Lake Manyara Tree Lodge

Lake Manyara Tree Lodge

"Tree Lodge"

2 nights Arrived 19 Oct 2010
"This is a beautiful lodge, but it is a long drive from the Manyara airstrip to arrive in camp. We left the airstrip at noon, and after stopping to look at every bird (as requested by the other couple in the car), we managed to arrive in camp after dark after 7:00 p.m.. It was an enjoyable, but tiring day.

We had a brief stop in our rooms where we intended to enjoy showers before dinner. The showers are outside, and we were confused to find the faucet handles tied together. A call to reception brought our butler Robert to straighten things out -- we learned that they have to tie up the handles to keep the monkeys from turning the water on! Our room was beautiful and spacious and very private. The open lodge facilities are comfortable, and the outdoor dining area with a blazing fire is lovely and romantic.

We left early on a game drive, then returned to the camp for a cooked-to-order brunch. An afternoon of rest and relaxation was very welcome, and then we joined our guide Msami again for an afternoon drive. The game was plentiful and interesting. We saw lions mating, and then watched two lion sisters climb a tree and rest together. While stepping into the bathtub at the end of the day, I looked up to find elephants walking by, just a few meters from our hut. What a delightful experience!

The staff was all wonderful, and they seemed to enjoy the game sightings as much as we did. The food was delicious, especially the crepes at brunch and the tandoori-baked naan one evening.

While we initially were unhappy that the lodge is such a long drive away from the park entrance, we realized that the remote location makes for wonderful, uncrowded game viewing once you arrive. You have the mornings to yourselves with the game, since no other vehicles are in the park for several hours. It makes it well worth the drive."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

"Crater Lodge experience"

2 nights Arrived 21 Oct 2010
"Arriving at Ngogongogo Crater Lodge is a breathtaking experience. The architecture borders on the bizarre, but the rooms are extravagant yet comfortable. As noted by some of the other reviewers, it does feel a bit more like a hotel than the other camps. But since it is divided into three separate locations that each have their own lodge, it still retains a small, personal atmosphere. We were in North Camp which doesn't look right over the crater rim, but it was still lovely to have zebra grazing on our lawn overlooking more distant views of the crater. We were there in low season, so they didn't have guests in the other two camps.

The food was good, and it was interesting to be served a "bread course" with various spreads and spices. One evening we enjoyed entertainment by a choir made up of lodge employees. The North Camp manager Irene was always present and made us feel welcome.

The game drive on the next day felt a bit different from the drives in other camps we visited. It was the only camp where we had an enclosed vehicle, but the dust kicked up by the other cars makes that necessary. We did see a lot of game up close, but often were joined by a dozen other cars. One highlight was watching a mother and baby rhino who came within 20 meters of the cars while grazing. The drivers were amazed to see her approach so close while having a youngster with her.

One highlight was returning from the game drive for lunch, and then upon entering our room, we found a cozy fire and a bubble bath awaiting us. That evening we enjoyed cocktails on the lawn, sitting on low stools around campfires. All in all, the Crater Lodge is a lovely place to spend a couple of nights and was a beautiful ending to our safari trip."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

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