Reviews of Goliath Safaris
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Interesting trip to Goliath
We decided to start our safari to Zimbabwe at Goliath as we were interested in a more walking based safari and had heard and read great reports on the charismatic Stretch Ferreira. Due to the travel arrangements from the UK we arrived at the camp on our first night as dusk fell so our first meeting with the great man was as we all sat down to dinner. He is truly an entertaining character with an obvious love of the country and its wildlife.
The description of the camp by EA is very accurate although one aspect that isn't mentioned is that the lights go out at 21:00 so torches are a must. The tents do have a low voltage battery operated lamp but obviously it doesn't provide a lot of light. The tents are very comfortable with a flush toilet at the rear, accessible via a large zipped canvas flap. The shower requires a fire to be lit behind the wooden fence at the rear of the tent so the camp staff need a bit of notice if you want a shower, you can't simply go and turn on the hot tap and expect warm water. The food was excellent, never ceases to amaze us the quality that is produced with such relatively limited resources and facilities.
However the real strength of the camp is Stretch himself. His wealth of knowledge and ability to see and read tracks which were meaningless to us was incredible. Despite this however he was well and truly beaten during our three night stay by the local lion population who steadfastly refused to be found. The growing frustration in Stretch was quite amusing to see although he did restore his reputation somewhat by getting us up close and personal with wild dogs and also with an elephant which he called JD, whose party piece would seem to be nudging you with his tusk !!.
I suspect we were just a bit unfortunate with the lack of wildlife sightings judging by other reviews, however this was more than compensated for by the wealth of stories provided by Stretch over our too short a stay.
He truly is a character!!!
Stretch at Goliath can't be beat
I can't say enough good things about this camp and particularly Stretch. We selected Goliath specifically because of the reviews we'd read about Stretch and he DID NOT disappoint. Such an entertaining character with an incredibly vast knowledge but also the perfect blend of bond and healthy respect with and for the animals. Watching him track was amazing - I could barely see the prints let alone understand which way they were going, what pace, what time, etc.
The camp was great. To have elephants wandering outside your tent just a screen away is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Whether we were having dinner around the firepit or at the dining table it wasn't just a meal but an experience. Bradley made sure we were constantly hydrated (no matter your beverage of choice) and the food was delicious, including the birthday cake that was made for one of the guests.
It was kind of nice that the power went off at 9, you just have to plan accordingly - a torch is a must! I was under the impression we wouldn't be able to charge anything while we were there, so the charging station was great and a converter wasn't even necessary. Also be aware of the sand flies - they'll nibble on your feet and ankles if you don't have bug spray on.
The only downside was that we were told laundry service was next day, but then our clothes weren't available for 2 days...only a problem if you're looking to re-wear something and can't get it back. But Caitlin was great about hunting down our stuff so it all worked out.
But if you want to see nature up close and personal (walking up to an elephant Stretch knows by name, seeing an impala dragged up into a tree by a leopard, surprising a mother lion while protecting her 2 cubs, canoeing around hippos) this is ABSOLUTELY the place to go!! We miss Stretch already!
Goliath Up Close and Personal
Suit energetic bush visitors who want to get up close to animals.Read more about the whole safari
Goliath Safaris review
Stretch lived up to his reputation.
Food and drink excellent.
Views from the camp were outstanding.
Just the right amount of danger to make it interesting.
Safari "mates" very pleasant which helps to make the trip.
One of the couples at the camp was celebrating an anniversary.Stretch and the staff went all out. Cake, songs , dancing etc.
Goliath Safaris review
Beautiful location, amazing walking safaris, great people.
A truly memorable experience.
My dream location for a camp
Goliath Safaris is, amazingly, a temporary camp, totally dismantled each year, and bearing this in mind the attention to detail in the tents, bar and lounge area is superb and makes this location even more perfect. It overlooks the Zambezi and the colours and sunsets here are stunning.
There is a large Apple Core tree shading the communal area, and this is full of birds at certain times of day. On either side of the camp the river banks are alive with Carmine Bee Eaters, and there is a resident Vundu fish adjacent to the lounge area which comes to be fed, as well as the local hippo who wanders nearby.
The food offered here is excellent, particularly the evening meals which are served around a large table with all the guests seated formally and lead by Stretch Ferreria.
The tents are well appointed with an excellent hot outdoor shower and have electricity until 9 pm. The only downside is the charging facilities for cameras etc which is more limited, especially if the camp is full and everyone wants to charge their gadgets at the same time. Nothing is too much trouble for the staff here.
The game drives and walks are amazing and are personally led by Stretch and his team, all of whom have excellent knowledge of both animals and birds. We particularly enjoyed the walks led by Stretch, who stopped at nothing to try and find the things we wanted to see. He also leads walks which take you safely and professionally to within feet of elephants etc.
The camp also offers canoe trips down the river which we particularly enjoyed and the fishing is not to be missed either.
We just wish we had had longer.
Goliath Safaris review
Brilliant camp and Mana Pools area very varied and attractive. Dates we visited tied in with other holiday requirements, like bats at Kasanka, but with daytime temperatures of 40C and above it was a struggle to get asleep some nights. Game viewing very good and Stretch is an amazing personality and guide.
We opted for a charter flight from Lusaka but another group had chosen to drive to Mana pools and regretted it due to delays crossing the border and an unscheduled additional stopover somewhere grim! Stretch recommended flying in despite the extra cost and we would have to agree. He further recommended visiting in May/June as a cooler alternative and we might just do that to see it at its most beautiful. A very intimate experience and a chance to get up very close to some of Stretch's old animal friends. Highly recommended.
Stretch is the True Elephant Talker
Stretch has an amazing sense of humor, and he knows the bush as well as anyone. I still can't believe how he got a wild elephant to pose with 8 of us. He knows a huge number of elephants in Mana Pools National Park and talks to them personal. He also brought all of us to a wild dog den. We heard the sentinel bark and then arrived pat the original den. We moved on to the den the dogs were currently using only to hear the rest of the pack bark and disappear. I found it fascinating to talk to him about Zimbabwe during and after the war.
I saw plenty of other wildlife besides elephants at Goliath Camp including: eland, zebra, impala, lions, kudu, and plenty of beautiful birds.
The dinners and desserts were luscious. Of course I enjoyed eating outdoors.
Stretch is ably assisted by his partner Flo Coughlin. The rest of the staff is also excellent including guides Ruben and Siraj.
The location is superb along the river. This was my second time in Mana Pools and I certainly enjoyed it again.
Walking safari was exhilerating
This is a much more simple camp than we had previously stayed in. With a one temperature shower I wonder how that works in the cooler months?
A limitation is that the lights go out at 9pm and despite the early starts I would have liked to stay and sit out later particularly as the tents were very hot.
The camp was full and frankly I don't think walking with 12 other tourists worked well at all. It was simply too many. It was concerning how long it took others to understand and stick to the basic rules when walking in the bush. This worried me and detracted from the overall experience.
It didn't help that they were all travelling together with there own guide and initially it made us feel on the periphery. Eventually the group decided that we were their new best friends.
That said walking provided a wholly new way of thinking about the animals we so enjoy seeing. The experiences were exhilarating and at times nerve racking when faced with a very unsettled lioness, lion and cub. Their power was unmistakable!! This is not a camp for the faint hearted.
We also had the pleasure of animals wandering through camp. It was very hard to sit still as an elephant brushes past your table to drink from the river, but I sat like a statue!
I would love to do some walking again but will look very carefully at the arrangements, so that I feel as confident about safety and enjoyment as you can from this kind of experience.
Perhaps there needs to be more emphasis on potential guests understanding what will be expected of them which is revisited before going out on the first walk.
Despite the above we loved it here. Mana is a lovely area and the camp is in a beautiful spot. The guiding was very good, the camp relaxed, plenty of good food, the staff were all delightful and did everything they could to make our stay a good experience.
Not for the faint hearted!
This was a great and altogether unique experience. Sitting at the feet of a large bull elephant while he hoovered up seed pods from below a Winter Thorn Tree, crawling up to a pride of lions and later crawling along a river bed to get close to a pack of Wild Dogs. Each experience different and each very memorable. All due to Stretch Ferreira, whose empathy for and knowledge of the animals is legendary.
He is a wonderful host and each day we spent there was a joy, despite the heat. His business partner Flo keeps Stretch grounded and is a major part of the success of Goliath Camp. The other members of staff, Stetch's trainees - Siraj and Steven, and Reuben the guide all contribute to the close knit family" atmosphere of the camp.
Accommodation is relatively basic, but the food is excellent and plentiful. Goliath is certainly somewhere we want to go back to.