Africa Odyssey Reviews – 2006

2nd January 2020

P. Bell, UK. 2006.

I thought it only just and proper that I wrote to tell you what a FANTASTIC time we had in Tanzania.. The Selous Safari Lodge made us truly welcome, and helped to make our honeymoon something we will never forget. Although it was organised directly through our friends, the Breezes was also truly superb… Thanks again, and we WILL be going back!

H. McCalmont, UK. 2006.

Dear Mark/Julian

Can’t believe we have been back nearly a fortnight already.  It really was the most wonderful holiday – thank you so much.  Everything worked brilliantly – all flights on time, and we particularly enjoyed the private plane ride out of the Selous back to Dar.  We loved the Selous private safari camp and also Zanzibar although we did prefer Matemwe to Ras Nungwi (a bit too “butlins” for us!!)
Can you let me know the breakdown of the different places ie was Matemwe a lot more expensive than Ras Nungwi for instance?
Thanks so much

A. Charlesworth, UK. 2006.

Julian,

Everything was great.

You have caught us with this email before we managed to write you a letter thanking you for everything.
The holiday was really magical and we have now up-dated the Blog so that you can read about it in more detail (http://andrewnina.blogspot.com). We have also added a few photos that we were proud of. We have plenty of others, but have rather spent the last 2 weeks getting back into the swing of work – Nina has been traveling around the UK and somehow I have had more work evenings that usual (three weeks away – we have to pay sometime!)

We really loved the Old Boma. The atmosphere was great and is was really educational to spend some time in a part of Africa where the residents do not treat you as a target for purchases or begging. I think that we would happily have spent a little more time at the Old Boma, but also gather that it is expected to grow in tourism in the next few years – so it may be “now or never.”

Ras K was super – rained rather a lot, which was a shame as we didn’t manage to make full use of the boats, windsurfers, canoes etc. The staff were great and the location and ambiance exactly what we were after.

The highlight for us both I think was probably Selous – such a lovely place, amazing game, great camp and very friendly staff – I cannot recommend that too much.

The one thing that I think that we would change is the camping, or at least the length of camping without showers! It is such a shame that the camp facilities are so poor. At the Tarangirie Park they have just completed new toilet blocks at the gates and pic-nic areas which were superb – if they provided the same standard of loos and showers at the campsites then they would have many more visitors. That said the hardship of no running water would not have been so bad if we had managed to break up the 6 days from Tarangirie to Lobo with one night with a shower as I know that you had planned.
The Kempinski was a great relief and the Souk was perfectly adequate – the only thing that I would add about the Souk was that it is quite a way from the airport and whilst it is a good location for a 24 hours it was just a room for our stop-over and something closer to the airport might have worked.

Have a look through the blog as it sets out much more of our thoughts and, as we write it whilst we were there, probably gives a better view of our thoughts as we went round.
On another line we would both like to thank you for doing such a super job for us – and at such short notice. We had a holiday of a lifetime (although we do hope that we have many more to come that measure up to this too). You did that rare thing in that you managed to deliver a holiday that lived up to our expectations. We could also like to thank you directly for coping so well with our views on Pongwe and getting us not only back on the rails but giving us an end the the holiday which added to the already marvelous experience that we had had until then.

We both believe that you went well beyond the usual level of help and made sure that everything was sorted with minimum of fuss and with a great outcome for us. We have been recommending you to everyone that we have talked to about the trip.
Thank you for making the holiday so special for us both – I am now hoping that we can both be persuaded to go again next year – how about the West side? I also hear from another of your Clients (Julian Keeble) that you sent him to “heaven” on an island just of Mozambique (I forget the name for now).

T. Rose, UK. 2006.

Hi Julian,

we are back from our trip, enjoying the last day before heading back to work tomorrow, so I thought I’d drop you a line with some feedback.

Logistically everything went well except for a minor problem with the local air tickets. When we arrived the coastal envelope only contained one ticket, DAR-Selous-DAR, returning on the 14th. We explained that we should have a private charter to mafia on the 14th and a flight maf-dar on the 19th. After some checking they changed the ticket to selous-maf on the 14th. We were also told that the maf-dar ticket for the 19th would be sent to pole pole, but it never arrived. The coastal man at the airport also didn’t have the tickets. In any case we flew back and everything was alright (though there was some confusion when we arrived as the transfer man was expecting us on the mid day flight from Zanzibar!). Having flown with coastal a few times before we knew they were flexible and competent and were confident everything would be ok. But had this been our first trip to africa I am sure we would have worried.

Beho Beho: excellent throughout. The guiding met the very high standards set by SSC and Sand Rivers on our previous visits. The camp is very nice and the service was excellent. The atmosphere was friendly. The area around the camp is more diverse than that around SSC and Sand Rivers which is a plus. Overall very good and I would recommend it and go back.

Diving: you may recall that I asked you for information on the dive operation attached to Pole Pole/Mafia Lodge before going, but you didn’t have much information. I therefore thought it would be useful to tell you about our experience. The dive operation is run by Moez Kassam, and his calm, friendly and highly professional manner sets the tone for the whole operation. The dive masters and boot crews were excellent. Enthusiastic, friendly, and totally relaxed, but also very professional. They made a big effort to get us to the dive sites in optimal conditions – island time won’t do when you need to catch the tide at the right moment. Every day the boot left exactly as advertised, like a swiss watch. We were able to do two dives on the incoming tide, which is a first for us in East Africa and really makes a difference for experienced divers trying to maximise their diving in the best conditions. Service was excellent – every day our gear was washed and waiting for us on the boat when we arrived. Overall this is a world class operation, and I would highly recommend and go back (and we have been diving for 15 years all over the world, so we have some perspective).

Hope this is useful.

D. Salgado, USA.

Dear Marc,

First of all, thank you very much for checking our airport transfer and changing the pick up time for earlier time in Stone Town. We came home on Friday evening.

I just wanted to tell you how wonderful time we had in Tanzania.

I am so glad you convinced me to choose Crater Lodge and The Palms. My husband was so impressed with the Crater Lodge on our first day in Tanzania, but when we got to The Palms in Zanzibar later, we soon realised it was the best place we had ever stayed!
In Morongo we loved the lodge, and all the staff we met there were very kind, helpful and knowledgeable. Although the lodge itself wasn’t as good as the Crater Lodge, the safari at the Klein’s was superb. We did all the available safari there, in the private concession area, Serengeti National Park and walking safari with Alistair the general manager of the Klein’s. The chef at the Klein’s was the best chef of all the places we stayed during this trip in Tanzania. Again people there were all so good. We had a wonderful time there.
However I must tell you that the service we received at The Palms were most exceptional. At the beginning of our stay, it was very quiet and only two out of six bungalows were occupied, so Peter, the manager treated us with “The champagne & canapé on the bed in the beach”!

The Palms was certainly the most luxurious place of all and the degree of the personal service we received was just so outstanding. We didn’t want to leave there.
Regarding the safari, we saw almost everything we wanted to see except Rhino, but we didn’t expect to see any Rhino, so no disappointment.

We saw so many cheetahs including the moment of the two brothers hunting a gazelle and succeeded, and a mother with four cubs eating their kill. We also saw lots of lions and lioness and luckily we were able to see a leopard walking round as well at the Klein’s concession area.

There was one funny incident though. When we were leaving the Klein’s for Zanzibar by Arusha, we were told that our names weren’t on the passenger list of the plane other people were boarding at the Klein’s airstrip and also told there was no other planes coming to the Klein’s airstrip on that day.

Luckily the pilot said he had enough space to take both of us on board to Arusha, however when we were approaching Aretha airport, the weather turned too bad for landing, so we were diverted to Kilimanjaro.

It was OK for the rest of the passengers, because the same plane was taking them to Zanzibar anyway, but we were supposed to change the plane from The Regional Air to Coastal Aviation at Arusha and by this time we had missed the connection. Anyway, the pilot kindly called the Coastal Aviation and informed them where we were and made some arrangement to take us to Zanzibar.

When we told this story at the Palms, they said, it’s quite common… We were so grateful that everything was so casually amended.
Anyway I would like to repeat that how truly superb the people of CC Africa lodges and The Palms were.

Also I would like to thank you for helping me to choose the right places when I was organising this trip. (My husband was so impressed with my choices!)
We had the most unforgettable holiday.

I Arthur, UK. 2006.

Nick
Just to let you know that we had a fantastic time in Tanzania – so thanks a lot for putting it together.  Ocean Paradise is lovely – really well set out and the beach is just amazing.  And good food.  We did a great boat trip with a company called Safari Blue which I’d definitely recommend to anyone going there.   The Selous was also amazing – we saw loads of animals – elephants, lions, hunting dogs, more giraffe than I could imagine……..  Although it’s quite a big camp, there were never more than 4 people and a guide on any of the safaris.

J. Cornish, UK.

Nick

Just wanted to give yourself & Tanzania Odyssey some positive feedback (especially as feedback is often negative).
We had a fantastic honeymoon, everything went extremely smoothly & according to plan.  Having lived in Africa, many years ago, I have to compliment you on a fantastic job as making things go smoothly is often extremely difficult.  Beho Beho was superb, Ras Nungwi amazing & Serena Inn very impressive.

Thanks for all your help in making our Honeymoon something to remember.

J. Edwards, UK. 2006.

Hello Marc.

Glad to tell you that the trip was absolutely first class and everything after we left London went like clockwork. We were both hugely impressed by all the  places you arranged for us to stay in. The quality of the accommodation was really good and  all the people at Selous, Jongomero and Ras Nungwi were extremely welcoming, friendly and eager to help.
Both the bush camps were great fun. The accomodation was gorgeous and the standard of dining was very high.
At Ras Nungwi we thought the hotel was super and extremely well run and even our last day in Stonetown was thoroughly enjoyed and we thought the guest house was very charming and comfy.
We had  good times everywhere, saw a lot of big game at very close quarters (bit too close a couple of times!), soaked up a lot of the atmosphere of living in the wild, and met a lot of interesting people. I am glad we had a chance to sample two fairly  different camps at Selous and Jongomero.
A lot of people we encountered asked us which we preferred and we could only answer that they were both terrific and if you were only going to one it would be very hard to choose which.
As you know, I  was already an ‘Afrophile’ and this trip just reinforced my views about  it being a place everyone should visit at least once in a lifetime. Margot  had never been to Africa but was bowled over by everything and came away saying “Which part of Africa are we going to visit next? ”
I can honestly say we couldn’t think of a single even slightly negative aspect of this trip and you can be assured that will be reflected in what I write. Thank you for everything you did to make it such a memorable adventure.
I  will be in touch again in the next few days, will try to drop in, because I will need to include some typical prices and options for this type of holiday with your company.
Once again, thanks for all your help.

S. Ballinger, UK. 2006.

Hi Julian,

Had forgotten to drop a line to thank-you for arranging our honeymoon. We had a fabulous time all the way through, no hitches or problems and where we were being met along the way the person was there waiting for us, polite and efficient. Can’t believe how well it went.
As our first safari experience we were spoilt, saw everything we wanted to and stayed at the greatest of places. Don’t think we can ever go on safari again as nothing will live up to this trip….
Cheers again!

D. Shafer, USA. 2006.

Nick,

Thanks for arranging a fantastic trip!

We enjoyed the Sand Rivers Lodge and Mwagusi very much.  Sand Rivers was exceptional because we had a private guide for just the two of us, the opportunity to take a boat trip upriver and do some fishing in addition to the standard game drives was also a nice change.
The number and diversity of game that we saw at both places exceeded my expectations!
The treehouses at Chole Minji were also quite unique.
I have attached a few of my best photos for you to see.

Thanks again for a great trip!

C. Waldman, UK. 2006.

Marc and Nick:

Many thanks from Michele and me for your spot-on advice.  We loved each of the places more than we could have hoped.  (Didnt love the black mamba we ran into at Ras Kutani, but oh well).
We also ran into many of your clients.  You seem to have a good hold of the UK market.  Let me know if there is anything I can do to promote you here.

H. Roberts, UK. 2006.

Julian,

A note of thanks for the excellent organisation of our honeymoon which was flawless. Thanks also for your superb recommendations. We had an absolutely fantastic time and enjoyed all of the places we stayed (Ras Kutani, Beho Beho, Jongomero, Emerson & Green, Ras Nungwi). In particular, having the two days at the start of the honeymoon at Ras Kutani was great as we needed the time to relax and take in the events of the wedding. The highlight of the trip was definately Beho Beho. Whilst we enjoyed Jongomero very much, Beho Beho was a notch above in all departments, especially the guides. We didn’t appreciate at the time just how good the guides at Beho Beho were and feel almost privileged to have had Spike and Sean as guides. A close second would be Ras Nungwi, which was the perfect way to end our honeymoon.
Many Thanks

S. Nicholas, UK. 2006.

Dear Julian,

Today I have sent you a DVD with some photos and video clips from out honeymoon.  We had a fantastic time and it was better than we imagines and definitely the holiday of a lifetime that we wanted.  Many thanks for all your help in making it all happen for us.
We hope that you can us some of the pictures on your website.

Thank you once again.

N. McCarthy, UK. 2006.

Hi Nick,

Just got back to my desk today (oh joy) after a really great holiday so I thought I’d take a few minutes to let you know how it all went.
We had a fantastic time Nick. Everything went really smoothly and we really felt we got star treatment in both the Serengeti and Tarangire parks. As you had predicted, Nomads are the real deal. The accomodation was just great – really comfortable and excellent service. Our guides were both really great – although I feel our guide in the Serengeti definitely has the edge when it came down to it. Having said that our Tarangire guide was also great – and he was such a laugh that it made up for any shortcomings on finding game. All our flight connections went very smoothly, shame we can’t get around like that here.
Thanks also for the recommendation for the Clove Hotel in Stone Town. We really loved it there.
I hope all is going well and thanks again for sorting out our trip at such short notice.

C. Smelt, USA. 2006.

Marc
Just to let you know, all went well in Namibia. We had no hassle at Heathrow, although our bags joined us in Sossusvlei 36 hours late – I think the baggage handlers in Johannesburg are overloaded!!
We had a fantastic time, the scenery in Namibia was awesome and, as I guess you know, Mauritius and Le Prince Maurice were spectacular.
Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to take any video footage of any of the camps.
Thank you for organising the trip.

P. Bullick, UK. 2006.

Dear Marc and Julian

I am just writing to report our impressions of our Tanzania trip 19 August/4 September.
It was magic – not just up to our expectations but well beyond.  Each camp and park complemented the others, becoming more specialised, always with lots of game and without the distraction of other tourists.  Everywhere the standards of guiding, accommodation, food and service were absolutely first class.
Ras Kutani was idyllic.  A honeymooner’s paradise – we were treated like honeymooners after 42 years of marriage!  Either TO has considerable influence or they really thought we were honeymooners because we had one of two new beautiful secluded suites high up overlooking the tree canopy and the sea, with a ten foot bed, two verandahs and our own pool.  Charming service and good food – altogether an absolute delight.
Mwagusi in Ruaha was an ideal introduction to safari.  The camp is very comfortable, the guiding superb, the countryside very varied, and a huge quantity and variety of game.  Our only minor grumble relating to the whole trip is that they seemed a little disorganised.  As our plane from RK was delayed 4 hours, it was almost dark when we arrived for our first safari ever.  We were met on arrival by an assistant manager, taken to our banda, five minutes walk from the central area, and simply told that someone would fetch us at 7.30 for drinks and dinner and that we must not leave on our own
No other explanation whatsoever about anything.  As a result we were totally disorientated until the next morning.  From then on however we had a marvellous time.
Katavi was quite different.  The drying up flood plain had huge herds of buffalo (one of over 3,000) and lots of hippo, crocs, zebra, giraffe, lions, etc.  We discovered that after the first night we would be the only guests.

This might have been a little awkward but it was in fact quite the opposite.
Manie the young Afrikaner manager’s bushcraft was unparalleled, and he was a great host.  He, Apollo, and the other six staff catered to our every whim with great cheerfulness – no need to fit in with other guests’ plans.  We will never forget our surprise sundowners way out in the bush at the end of a walking safari!  The only problem at Katavi was some particularly determined tsetse flies!
As everyone told us we would, we loved Mahale.  Chimps galore, many of whom did not understand the 10 metre rule!  The place was beautiful and laid back, with very entertaining and imaginative young hosts in Edward and Donna.  I shall long remember snorkelling in Lake Tanganyika – thousands of cichlids in crystal clear water – and diving for giant freshwater mussels for supper, to be greeted with champagne on our return.  And there was no bar bill whatsoever!
All in all, we had the time of our lives.  This was to a large part due to your advice, organisation, and I suspect, influence.  It appears that out there Tanzania Odyssey is a highly thought of name.  Everything ran like clockwork apart from the one plane delay, and all without any tickets!  In hindsght it is difficult to see how it could have been improved, and it met exactly our criteria of abundant game in natural surroundings without crowds, with real variation in terrain and camps.  The surprise was that the birdlife was almost as fascinating as the big game.
As you will probably gather, we enjoyed ourselves!  This was very largely due to your advice and organisation, which we appreciate greatly.  It was worth every penny.
Very many thanks from both of us.

R. McMillan, USA. 2006.

Hi Julian

This is just a quick e-mail to say thank you for organising a wonderful honeymoon for Katy and myself. We had an absolutely amazing time at Selous safari camp and then Shooting Star on Zanzibar. Everything was so well organised and efficient and made for such a great holiday. We’ll definitely be recommending anyone we know who is planning to go to Tanzania your way.
Thanks again

J. Beardsmore, UK. 2006.

Nick and Marc

I just wanted to let you know what a superb holiday we had in Northern Tanzania and Zanzibar and to thank you for your impeccable organisation.
After the nerve-wracking preliminaries (10 August), we finally left Heathrow only one hour late and arrived in Dar on time. From then on all the arrangements, transfers, flights etc worked like clockwork. Our guide Chamillas Madji was brilliant – very knowledgeable, helpful and informative, and with an unerring knack of finding the animals we were looking for. It’s hard to imagine how the safari could have been improved. Thanks to Serena Hotels’ overbooking, we had a wonderful two nights in Kirawira Luxury Camp, which was an unforgettable experience. The other hotels were also excellent, especially Ras Nungwi, which really lives up to its brochure.
We’ve been raving about the holiday since we came back and there’s a distinct chance that another branch of the family will be in touch with you to discuss 2007…
Kind regards and many thanks once again

J. Field, UK. 2006.

Julian/Marc

Thank you for the cheque (sorry about my tardy acknowledgement).  Your response has enhanced the already high regard we have for the Tan. Odyssey operation.
We all had a truly memorable holiday and were very impressed by all the arrangements you put in place.  Many, many thanks.  My colleagues, although widely travelled, who had never been to Africa were really excited and are talking about taking their two sons as soon as their respective diaries can be made to fit.  They may get in touch with you directly; I have passed all the info to them.
For my part we are already planning next year.  Zambia  plus beach over say 3 weeks next August, seems a favoured choice.  Do Tan. Odyssey have a presence there?  Perhaps it might be best if I called to discuss options rather than to rely on e-mails.  Please let me know what you think.
Very best regards

K. Hartley, UK. 2006.

Hi Mark,

We returned from our honeymoon on 25th August despite British Airways attempts to further wreck our plans by not changing our flight from the 22nd to the 25th correctly! Needless to say, a strong letter of complaint has gone into BA for their total incompetence in handling the security crisis (lack of information, incorrect information, inability to contact them by phone or change flights on the internet).
Anyway, enough of the grumbling. I wanted to say a very big thank you to you and your colleagues at Tanzania Odyssey for two reasons. Firstly, for being of great help when our flight was cancelled. It was great to be able to talk to you outside of office hours and we were grateful for the smooth and efficient way you assisted us with the extra accommodation at Amani Beach and the changed flights with Coastal.
Secondly, for organising a fantastic honeymoon for us. The recommendations made by Tanzania Odyssey were unbelievable. The quality absolutely fabulous. Beho Beho was amazing. We saw some great wildlife, the guiding (Spike) was brilliant, and the quality of accommodation second to none. Palms was equally fantastic. Lovely place and the staff were so kind, friendly and attentive.
I won’t have second thoughts in recommending Beho Beho, Palms or Tanzania Odyssey to all my friends and family.
We are now trying to get a refund from BA but we are also looking into getting compensation for the missed accommodation and internal flights at the beginning of our trip. To help us to do this, could you please let me know the cost breakdown of our two missed nights in Ras Kutani and the missed flights from Dar to Ras Kutani and return.
Thanks again for all your help.

J. Lane, UK. 2006.

Dear Julian

Firstly apologies for not being in touch sooner.
Zoë and I just wanted to thank you for organising a superb honeymoon in Tanzania. It really was exactly what we were after, in terms of having to think about nothing apart from what time the next meal was!
Ras Nungwi was excellent. The food was lovely and it was very relaxed. The only comment I would make was the accommodation was looking very tired especially the bathroom.
I cannot remember the name of the place we stayed at in Stone Town but once again this was very nice and central. The place is now having a restaurant built, which should add to it, as we felt that was the only thing missing. But overall it was fantastic.
The Selous Safari Camp was brilliant and I cannot recommend the whole experience high enough. The fly camp was an experience not to be missed. The food and service was amazing and we just wished we had longer there, but I think this would have been impossible.
Ras Kutani was also the perfect ending and also went far too quickly.
Thank you very much for organising the whole trip which was done so easily, which is exactly what we needed with everything else leading up to the wedding. Also a huge thank you for coming within our budget. I gained the distinct impression that you reduced your prices by quite a bit to meet us, which we are very very grateful for.
I have recommended your company to two other friends getting married next year.
All the best and once again many thanks.

D. Northcote, USA. 2006.

Dear Julian,
A big thank you for the perfectly organized trip to Tanzania.  We had a wonderful time and were treated with respect, courtesy, kindness and PATIENCE at every step of the way.   Despite all the many flights it coordinates, Coastal was on time and the pilots inspired trust.   Even though BA left A’s bag in London, Coastal was able to deliver it 4 days later at Selous.  When we missed our flight to Zanzibar due to extra pickups on the way from Ruaha, the staff made sure we got there within an hour and phoned the hotel re: transport.  I was fairly anxious about both these little incidents and yet (as has happened in the past) not one staff person displayed impatience with my worrisome questions.
Our family vacation was probably the last altogether since our children will be going to University soon.  In addition, I had been working extra hours to pay for it.   How delightful it is to have only positive things to say about this luxurious adventure.
Thanks again.

 

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