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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Ms M-E from Nevada

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

2

Lodges stayed in

6

Excursions taken

0

Trip to Namibia and Botswana

Botswana and 1 other country between 14 May 2011 and 29 May 2011

Trip rating: Excellent
"Our trip was wonderful - we enjoyed it very much. The information Maruska provided when we were initially planning the trip helped to arrange a trip that suited our interests and desires. We believe the initial phone conversation was essential to the process, as Maruska was able to find out what we were hoping to do, and she knew the right questions to ask in order to better understand what we were looking for (both in terms of what we wanted to see and do, and what was most important to us.) Once she understood that seeing different habitats and wildlife, with good guides, were our priorities, she was able to suggest camps to fulfill these priorities.

Maruska also understood that luxury accommodation and gourmet food were not important to us; we just wanted comfortable, safe accommodation (though we found all our accommodations and food great). Our discussions with Maruska helped tremendouly, since we were not familiar with the camps in Botswana and how it all works (camps, activities, transport).

Also, her extensive knowledge of Namibia assisted us in deciding exactly what we wanted to do there and how we could do it. We really appreciated her knowlegde of both the regions and activities, and the practical knowledge of what was possible (e.g., roads, distances, driving times, etc.). Everything worked out extremely well.

I have one additional comment regarding the camps in Botswana. We really enjoyed Mapula Lodge, which was very relaxed and did not have so many guests. Our stay at Mapula was very special, even though we saw more game at the other two lodges. Although we enjoyed all three camps, the atmosphere at Mapula was most appealing to us, as we really like to take our time watching the wildlife, not rushing from one animal to another.

We realize every visit is probably different, and we were lucky to be at Mapula with only two other guests. But one thing we would definitely look for in the future (after having experienced the camps), is camps that have no more than four guests in a vehicle. It is just a much better experience to drive through the habitats and see the animals with only two or four guests in the vehicle. Luckily, we only had two game drives with six guests - but those two drives were not nearly as enjoyable as the others. With six guests, there was a lot more talking, and it was hard to appreciate the sounds of the animals and the land, sounds that enhanced the amazing things we saw.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:
I only have one suggestion. We never received our final documents (including map and luggage tags) by mail. Although this did not affect our trip, since Maruska e-mailed all the necessary documents, it might help to send the final document package by special post (with some sort of tracking) rather that just by regular mail. One other idea is that the final document package could have been sent again by fast post when we still had not received the package 10 days before departure. As I mentioned, it did not affect our satisfaction with the trip, and Wilderness Safaris at Windhoek airport had a map of Namibia ready for us when we arrived.

Thank you for a great trip!"

Arranged By Maruska Adye-Rowe


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City Lodge OR Tambo

"Overnight before flight to Namibia"

1 night Arrived 14 May 2011
"This hotel was very convenient for our overnight "in-transit" stay in Johannesburg. It was great to be able to walk to the hotel, both on arrival and for return to the airport the next morning.

We were able to work out in the hotel exercise room - the equipment was very limited, but was enough to get a good work out after our long flight from the US.

The breakfast was very impressive, and we were able to start eating a few minutes before official breakfast hours so we had enough time to get to the airport. (We weren't at the hotel long enough for activities or to experience other aspects of the hotel.)"
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
BullsPort Lodge & Farm

BullsPort Lodge & Farm

"Great Stay at Bullsport Guest Farm"

4 nights Arrived 15 May 2011
"We thoroughly enjoyed our four-night stay at Bullsport Guest Farm. We had no problems driving to the farm, despite some damage to the roads from the heavy rains. The hosts were excellent, and made us feel like part of the family. Conversations at dinner were always interesting, and involved speaking a variety of languages - but communication was never a problem.

The rooms were great - lovely design and decor, and extremely functional. We loved the relaxed atmosphere, and the staff were always willing to help us out and make things work. It was wonderful that we could hike right from the farm (without driving), and the Quiver Tree Gorge hike was amazing. We also enjoyed the shorter hikes, seeing kudu and mountain zebras, and we were able to run in the mornings on the Kudu trail.

The farm has maps and directions (and personal advice) for all the hikes. One morning, we did the Ridge trail on horseback, which allowed us to get closer to the zebras. Our hosts, Ernst and Johanna Sauber, had to go to Windhoek midway during our visit, but had arranged our trip to Sossusvlei before they left (including giving us a small book describing the area). Ernst's sister, Hedi, came to help out with managing the farm, and we enjoyed meeting and talking with her.

Martin took us to Sossusvlei, and he did a great job. He is very knowledgable about the wildlife in the area, and our drive to Sossusvlei was very interesting and infomative. He was responsive to what we wanted to see and do at Sossusvlei, and let us stay until the park closed at sunset. It was a wonderful day and well worth the expense. We would certainly go back to Bullsport Guest Farm, especially for the great hiking in the area."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Elegant Guesthouse

Elegant Guesthouse

"Overnight - Windhoek's The Elegant Guesthouse"

1 night Arrived 19 May 2011
"The Elegant Guesthouse is a beautiful guesthouse with lovely rooms. However, it is not a convenient location. We understand that Windhoek can be a risky place for tourists, and possibly not many areas are considered safe for visitors. We had to sign a waiver of liability since we wanted to walk from the guesthouse (as opposed to taking a taxi). The woman at reception when we checked in was not at all friendly or helpful.

There really wasn't much choice of places to eat dinner in the area. Basically, it was just a place to stay until our fligh to Botswana the next morning."
Average
Location
Average
Service
Good
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Mapula Lodge

Mapula Lodge

"Wonderful Stay at Mapula Lodge"

4 nights Arrived 20 May 2011
"Mapula Lodge was our favorite lodge in Botswana.

Though we saw more wildlife at other lodges, the setting, staff, and experiences made it the best! The first two nights we were the only guests, so the staff, including our guide and tracker, were willing to find out what was most important to us and make it happen. Dix, our guide, and Simon, our tracker, were great. They were so enthusiastic and seemed to enjoy the game drives as much as we did.

On the drive from the airport to the lodge, we saw many animals, including a herd of elephants. We liked the cabins, and there was plenty of hot water (though our lights got a bit dim the last day). It was great to hear hippos during the night, and see elephant tracks in the camp in the morning. We were amazed at the food that was prepared, even when it was just the two of us guests.

We were later joined by two more people, but the experiences continued to be great. Though it was harder to find game at Mapula, it was so rewarding when you did, as you had to work for it. We didn't realize until later (after staying at Kwara and Lagoon) that this was a unique experience. The knowledge and experience of our guide and tracker was impressive. The driving was difficult due to high water from the record rains, but our guide, Dix, was willing to drive wherever he could, even though he often got very wet.

We would return to Mapula Lodge."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kwara Camp

Kwara Camp

"Great Game Viewing at Kwara Camp"

2 nights Arrived 24 May 2011
"The game drives and boat and mokoro rides at Kwara were great - it is a wonderful location for these activities. After the extremely relaxed experience at Mapula Lodge, we were a bit surprised at the pace at Kwara - many more people coming and going, and a full camp. At first we were a bit disappointed, but the overall experience turned out to be very good.

The camp "manager" that greeted us was a bit impersonal, but he was efficient. We really liked our guide, Master, and our tracker, Baruti. Master was fantastic - his knowlegde and ability were truly amazing. He was willing to do whatever was necessary for great game viewing, and he always checked with us about what we were most interested in doing and seeing. Again, we were lucky to have only two other people in our vehicle. Master was always aware of the fact that we wanted to take photos of things, and would position the vehicle for better views and would not leave until we were ready.

We did a nature walk the morning we went on the mokoros, and sighted a lion on the walk. Master let us stay and watch the lion from a distance he considered safe, and then took us back to the sight by vehicle after we had returned to camp by mokoro. There were several very special, unexpected experiences during our activiteis at Kwara that made up for the much busier feel of the camp.

The food was very good. We liked the tented camps, but had a problem with our toilet that took a day and half to fix. Unfortunately, we also had a problem getting hot water, and the temperature had dropped and it was too cold to use the outdoor shower without hot water.
Overall, the camp definitely puts game viewing first, and will accommodate meals around this."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Lagoon Camp

Lagoon Camp

"Interesting Stay at Lagoon Camp"

3 nights Arrived 26 May 2011
"At first, we were disappointed with our stay at Lagoon Camp. We were put with four other people in a vehicle, which is too many. It is hard to communicate with the guide, and there isn't enough room to be comfortable with six guests in the vehicle. In addition, our guide was intent on tracking some cheetahs, which is what we spent the entire first afternoon game drive doing. He didn't stop to view other wildlife, and it was almost dark by the time we got to the cheetahs (found by the other vehicles at the camp). Then, he just kept driving to try to follow the cheetahs, so we did not have a chance to actually just watch the cheetahs. We prefer to just sit and watch wildlife for a while, seeing the animals interact with each other, the environment, and our presence. We do not like to just stop, take a photo, and drive away.

SInce it was dark, the guide (Alison or Ellison) decided to try to find the cheetahs again on the drive the next morning. We spoke with the camp manager that morning, voicing our frustration with the previous afternoon's game drive, and she told us to talk directly with the guide - which we did at breakfast. It seemed he was trying at first, but he was still intent on finding the cheetahs (which we never did find that morning). We passed buffalo and giraffes, but the guide said he didn't want to stop as the more time we delayed, the less likely we would find the cheetahs.

Part of the problem with six people is the different interests. Two of the others didn't seem to care what they saw. One man was extremely interested in the tracking, and was content to sit for half an hour at a time while the guide and tracker were "tracking" several times during the drive. We again spoke to the camp managers at mid-day break. This time one of the mangers, Moses, really thought about the problem and came up with a creative solution. Instead of going on the afternoon game drive with the same guide, we went on the motorboat that was picking up four guests that had been out all day on a walk and drive. Moses came with us as a guide, since all the other guides were busy. It was wonderful - no great sightings, but a very relaxing afternoon becoming familiar with the habitat along the Kwando River. We then returned with the other four guests who were leaving the next day.

The next morning we went on a game drive with our new guide, Vundi and tracker/guide, A.T. They were fantastic - they understood that we enjoyed watching the game and taking photos. Vundi was great at finding locations to take great photos. For the rest of the drives, there were only four of us in the vehicle and Vundi and A.T. were wonderful is finding out all our interests and taking us on fantastic game drives. Moses continued to check with us that everything was working out well. Moses certainly solved the problems we initailly had, and Lagoon ended up being a great experience (except for the first two drives). Our experience was also enhanced by the helpfulness of Grace.

We enjoyed the location of the camp. seeing elephants and hippos across the river, and elephants right in the camp. The facilities are lovely - we understand Lagoon Camp was recently renovated. The food was very good, and the dining and bar areas very enjoyable. Although we were initially disappointed, our stay at Lagoon Camp ended up being great, thanks to Moses, Vundi and A.T."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

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