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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by The O Family from Farnham

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

2

Lodges stayed in

4

Excursions taken

0

Unforgettable trip that never disappointed

Botswana and 1 other country between 2 Apr 2011 and 13 Apr 2011

Trip rating: Excellent
"As first-time safari travellers with 2 young kids, there were a few nerves as we stepped off the plane in Johannesburg, but all the detailed planning worked beautifully and the whole trip was executed incredibly well."

Arranged By Lucy Copson


Ilala Lodge

Ilala Lodge

"Ilala Lodge review"

2 nights Arrived 3 Apr 2011
"Although not inter-connecting, our adjacent rooms (32 and 33) on the first floor of the new "conference wing" were amongst the best positioned in this small hotel, with nice balconies overlooking the gardens (full of cavorting baboons and warthogs in the mornings) and with a glimpse of the "smoke that thunders" rising above the trees.

Our spacious room had a 4-poster king-sized bed and a separate single bed round the corner, so we could probably have all slept in the one room with an extra z-bed; the two together could easily accomodate a family of 5-6. The kids made full use of the swimming pool which was close to the colonial-style bar and dining room beyond. The included breakfast buffet was comprehensive with a full cooked option if you want it.

In the evening, the a la carte menu had some quite exotic dishes (I had smoked crocodile tail followed by warthog steak) as well as most hotel standards (ie, chicken, steak, fish etc) and there was a children's menu of the sausage and mash/fish fingers variety if needed. But for our second evening we took the short taxi ride to the even grander Victoria Falls Hotel where the "Jungle Junction" buffet and "cabaret" of local african dancing was a good fun alternative at a similar price.

The on-site travel rep is a convenient way of arranging the standard tours such as a guided visit to the Vic Falls Park (not strictly needed, as the 1 hour walk is well sign-posted once you are past the amateur guides "touting" just outside the gates) or a sunset river cruise on the Zambesi. But the best value "excursion" is the $5 taxi ride to the "bridge" - or you can walk it in 20 mnutes - for free entry into "no-man's land" between the Zim-Zam borders (don't forget to take your passport) where you can ride a zip wire across the gorge, do an upright harness jump or a headfirst "bungee" jump (or just watch).

All in all a great place to start or finish your Botswanan safari."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Footsteps across the Delta

Footsteps across the Delta

"Small-camp experience bowled us over"

3 nights Arrived 5 Apr 2011
"From the first exciting game encounters on the drive back from the neighbouring airstrip (the local one was waterlogged), this delightfully intimate and personal camp never disappointed.

Our chief guide Paul and his assistant Kenny were highly experienced and professional in everything they did. Our two girls built an immediate rapport with the whole camp team, and we always felt perfectly secure when out on walks, mokoro trips or game drives. The Young Explorer Programme was a great introduction to the bush and the kids were kept busy during the mid-day siestas with complementary activities like making bows and arrows, lighting fiires or learning how to shoot an air rifle.

We must make a special mention of the food, which was exceptional given the limited facilities in the kitchen (essentially a tin box heated by coals). By the way, the Kerr & Downey game spotting notebooks that we were all given here were a very useful and fun way of recording all of our sitings throughout our trip - we were very surprised that none of the other camps provided anything similar."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Seba Camp

Seba Camp

"A luxurious haven amongst the elephants"

3 nights Arrived 8 Apr 2011
"This camp (the junior partner to the celebrated Abu elephant safari camp) may not be particularly well endowed with game according to some guidebooks, but we were very happy with our 3 days here. The accommodation is extremely luxurious, certainly when compared to the much more basic experience found at Footsteps.

The family tent is frankly palatial, with full hot and cold running water and showers in each "wing"'s ensuite bathrooms (the kids side actually havinga full-sized bath as well!). The interlinking corridor was also a fully stocked playroom (putting ours at home to shame) and the kids' twin had a mezzanine "chill-out" space as well. Think more 5-star hotel, rather than Tentrek.

Outside, the huge deck, with its own small plunge-pool, looked out over the scenic lagoon (although we missed the nightly, "in-your-face" hippo activity that was such a highlight at Footsteps). In fact,because we were the only guests, we spent most of our mid-day siestas at the camp's main swimming pool which was of a good size and very clean and welcoming.

Our two guides, Joseph and Bioshi, made a perfect combination with the South African's eloquent patter and friendly sense of humour "are you ready for the 4 hour drive to the camp?" contrasting with "elephant"'s silent, winning smile and eagle eyes. Close to the camp, most of the game spotting was at the 2 airstrips (one now abandoned), where we saw elephant, antelope, zebra, gyraffe, hyena and several cheetah tracks. But the main viwing area was only accessible by a 40 minute speedboat ride through the reed swamps (a mecca for birders) and a fantastic experience in its own right.

Unfortunately, the terrain at the other end has been affected by a recent bush fire which has clearly reduced the game levels. Nevertheless, on our last full day, a call on the radio alerted Joseph to a recent Cheetah sighting at the farthest corner of the concession and he immediately dropped all other plans to join the hunt. Diligent tracking by both guides then took us to the unforgetable scene of a fresh kill 5 yards of the track by a pair of beautiful cheetahs.

We also enjoyed the introduction to the elephant studies being conducted from the camp by the resident charity workers - Charlie gave a fascinating short lecture on the work that is being done here."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Camp Kalahari

Camp Kalahari

"Unpretentious camp, full Kalahari experience"

2 nights Arrived 11 Apr 2011
"After 6 days in the bush we thought we had seen it all (ha ha!) but, while undoubtedly somewhat formulaic, the 3 kalahari camps (Jacks, San and Kalahari) do offer a truly unique set of experiences to end up you Botswana tour.

Our 4 sessions included a bush-drive and sundowners on the pan, breakfast with the amazing meerkat family followed by a visit to the 3500-year old Chapman's beobab, an evening stroll with the wonderful bushmen (who dug up scorpions, made fire with sticks and played a remarkable game of scissors/paper/stone) and what would have been a final mornnig quad-bike ride if it had not been hijacked by the sighting of a glorious pair of kalahari lions.

As always, the guide is all-imprtant, and we couldn't have wished for anyone more knowledgeable than Aoyoshi (who introduced us to all the magic of the desert while still finding time to track down the elusive lions which had the vehicles from Jacks scurrying up behind). The new pool when it is finished will round off this camp which seems like a fantastic value for money alternative to the rather snootier Jacks and San."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good

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